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The reader will soon discover that this is a work 
requiring' no introduction to his attention. Indeed, 
whoever catches a glimpse of the attractions of the 
interior, wUl not be disposed patiently to listen to 
any details intended to detain him on the threshold ; 
and I have, therefore, thought it best to reserve 
editorial explanations for the end. 

The Publishers did me the honour to place in my 
hands the manuscript of the Autobiography, and 
several other documents, without any restriction on 
the extent to which they should be published. The 
reader is entitled to explanations both as to the nature 
and condition of these materials, and the manner 
in which I thought it fitting to execute the trust 
confided to me. For these explanations I refer to 
the Supplementary Chapter. 

Edinbubgh, November 1860, 


17^-1736: AGE, BIRTH TO 14. 


His birth — His father and the family — Precocious ministerings — Preston- 
pans and its social circle — Colonel Charteris — Erskine of Grange — Lady 
Grange and her adventiires — Colonel Gardiner: Doddridge's account of 
his conversion corrected — The Murray Keiths — A tour to Dumfries — 
The social habits of the borderers — Hanging of a border thief — Goes 
to the Uniyersity of Edinbui^h — First session — His teachers and com- 
panions — Dr Witherspoon of New York — Sir John Dalrymple — MTjaurin 
the mathematician, ....... 1-32 


173ft-1743: AGE, 14-21. 

Events of the Porteous mob — Sees the escape of Robertson from church — 
Present at the execution of Wilson, and Porteous firing on the people — 
The night of the mob — University studies — Logic — Rise of the medical 
school — Anecdotes and adventures — Reminiscences of fellow-students — 
Sir John Pringle — First acquaintance with Robertson the historian and 
John Home the dramatist — Achievements in dancing — Ruddiman the 
grammarian — Looking about for a profession — Medicine — The army — 
The Church — An evening's adventures with Lord Lovat and Erskine of 
Grange — Arrangements for studjring in Glasgow — Clerical convivialities 
— Last session at Edinburgh, ...... 33-66 


1743-1745 : AGE, 21-23. 

Goes to Glasgow — Leechman, Hutcheson, and the other professors — Life 
and society in Glasgow — Rise of trade — Origin of Glasgow suppers — Clubs 
— Hutcheson the metaphysician — Simson and Stewart the mathematicians 
— Moore^Tour among the clergy of Haddington : sketches of them — 
The author of " The Grave" — Return to Glasgow — College theatricals- 
Travelling adventures — News of the landing of Prince Charles— A volun- 
teer corps — Preparations for the defence of Edinburgh — The march and 
recall of the volunteers— The Provost's conduct — Adventures as a dis- 



embodied volunteer — Adventures of John Home and Robertson the his- 
torian — Expedition to view Cope's army — The position of the two armies 
— His last interview with Colonel Gardiner — Instructions to be wakened 
when the battle begins — Is wakened, and description of what he sees 
— The battle — Incidents — Inspection of the Highland army — Prince 
Charles — Preparations for going to Holland, .... 67-155 


1745-1746: AGE, 23-24. 

Sets off for Holland —A corporation dinner at Newcastle — Adventures at 
Yarmouth — Ley den and the students there — John Gregory — John Wilkes 
— Immateriality Baxter — Charles Townshend — Dr Aitken — Return to 
Britain — Fellow-passengers — Violetti the dancer — Taken to court — Lon- 
don society — The Lyons — Lord Heathfield — Smollett and John Blair — 
Suppers at the Golden Ball — London getting the news of the battle of 
Culloden — William Guthrie and Anson's voyages— Byron's nawative— 
The theatres and theatrical celebrities — Literary society — Thomson — 
Armstrong-Seeker, ....... 156-197 


1746-1748 : AGE, 24-26. 

Return to Scotland — English scenery — Windsor — Oxford — Travelling adven- 
tures — Presented to the church of Cockburnspath — Subsequently settled 
at Inveresk — His settlement there prophesied and foreordained — Anec- 
dotes — Anthony Collins — Social life in Inveresk and Musselburgh — Eng- 
lish notion that the Scots have no humour— John Home — Sketch of the 
assistant at Inveresk, ....... 198-225 


1748-1753: AGE, 26-31. 

Ecclesiastical matters — The affair of George Logan— Sketches of the clergy 
— Webster — Wallace — Contemporary history of the Church — The "Mode- 
rates" and the "Wild" party — The patronage question — Riding commit- 
tees — Revolution in Church polity, and Carlyle's share in it— Sketches of 
leaders in the Assembly — Lord Islay, Marchmont, Sir Gilbert Elliot — 
Principal Tullidelph, 226-257 


1753-1756: AGE, 31-34. 

Sketches of society — Lord Milton — Lady Hervey — Smollett's visit — Cullen's 
mimicries— Notices aad anecdotes of David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam 
Ferguson, Dr Robertson, Dr Blair, John Home —Foundation of the Select 
Society — Completion of the tragedy of " Douglas" — Adventures of its 
author and his friends in conveying it to London — Admiral Byng— The 
Carriers' Inn, ........ 258-309 


1756-1758: AGE, 34-36. 


Preparations for acting the tragedy of "Douglas" in Edinburgh — The 
rehearsal — The success — Carlyle attends — A war of pamphlets — Removed 
into the Church Courts — The '• Libel" against Carlyle — The ecclesiastical 
conflict — Characteristics of the combatants — The clei^y of Scotland and 
the stage— Conduct of Dundas and Wedderbum — Home and his success 
— Archibald Duke of Argyle and his habits, .... 310-332 


1758: AGE, 36. 

Finds Robertson in London about his histoiy — Home joins them — Their 
friends and adventures — Chatham — John Blair the mathematician — 
Bishop Douglas — Smollett and his levee of authors — A day with Garrick 
at his villa — Feats at golf there — A Methodist meeting-house — The clergy 
of Scotland and the Window-tax — Adam the architect— An expedition 
to Portsmouth — Adventures by land and sea — Meeting with Lord Bute — 
The journey home —Oxford — Woodstock — Blenheim — Birmingham — 
Lord Littleton — Shenstone at the Leasowes, .... 333-377 


1758-1759 : AGE, 36-37. 

Visit to Invei-ary — Pamphlet in defence of Chatham — Charles Townshend 
and the hospitalities of Dalkeith — A story of a haimch of venison — 
Wilkie of the " Epigoniad" —A corporation row in Dumfries^ — Andrew 
Crosbie— Ossian Macpherson — The militia pamphlet, . . 378-401 


1760-1763: AGE, 38-41. 

His marriage — Sentimental retrospects — Present happiness — Adam Fer- 
guson and sister Peg — Death of Greorge IL and the Duke of Argyle — 
Change in the administration of Scotch affairs — Newcastle and its society 
in 17150 — The Edinburgh Poker Club — Lord Elibank's sentimental adven- 
tm-es — Dr Robertson and the leadership of the Church of Scotland — Har- 
rogate and the company there -Andrew Millar the bookseller — Benjamin 
Franklin— Lord Clive, ....... 402-444 


1764-1766: AGE, 42-44. 

Domestic affairs — Henry Dundas — Harrogate revisited — Adventures with a 
remarkable bore — The author of " Crazy Tales " — Ambassador Keith — 
Education of the Scots gentry — John Gregory — Mrs Montague and her 
coterie — Death of the author's father— Sudden death of his friend Jardine 
— Church politics, ....... 445-469 



1766-1768: AGE, 44-46. 


Visit to Lord Glasgow with Robertson — Convivialities — Synod business 
— Dr Armstrong — An excursion to Tweeddale and across the border — 
Adventures in Carlisle — The Duke of Buccleuch and festivities at Dal- 
keith — Adam Smith there — Professor Millar of Glasgovr, . 470-495 


1769-1770: AGE, 47-48. 

The clergy of Scotland and the Window-tax — Carlyle appointed their cham- 
pion — Sojourn in London — The Scotch dancing assembly— The Church of 
Scotland's claims to consideration — Negotiations with statesmen — Dr 
Dodd preaching to the Magdalens — The career of Colonel Dow — Anec- 
dotes of Wolfe and Quebec — Garrick and John Home's plays — Decision of 
the Douglas Cause— Lord Mansfield — The Excitement — Conversation at 
Mrs Montague's — The return home — Back to London about the Window- 
tax — Anecdotes of the formation of the North Ministry — Conclusion, 496-635 


His correspondence on Church matters — His influence — His lighter corres- 
pondence — The great contest of the clerkship — The augmentation 
question — Politics — Collins' s Ode on the superstition of the Highlands 
— Carlyle and poetry — Domestic history — His personal appearance — The 
composition of his autobiography — Condition and editing of the manu- 
scripts — His last days— His death, ..... 536-576 




1722-1736 — AGE, BIRTH TO 14. 









Musselburgh, Jan. 26. 1800. 
Having observed liow carelessly, and consequently 
how falsely, history is w ritten, I have long resolved to 
note down certain facts within my own knowledge, 
under the title of Anecdotes and Characters of the 
TiTfies, that may be subservient to a future historian, 
if not to embellish his page, yet to keep him within 
the bounds of truth and certainty. 



I have been too late in beginning tliis work, as on 
this very day I enter on the seventy-ninth year of my 
age ; which circumstance, as it renders it not improbable 
that I may be stopped short in the middle of my 
annals, will undoubtedly make it difficult for me to 
recall the memory of many past transactions in my 
long life with that precision and clearness which such 
a work requires. But I will admit of no more excuses 
for indolence or procrastination, and endeavour (with 
God's blessing) to serve posterity, to the best of my 
ability, with such a faithful picture of times and 
characters as came within my view in the humble and 
private sphere of life, in comparison with that of many 
others, in which I have always acted ; remembering, 
however, that in whatever sphere men act, the agents 
and instruments are still the same, viz. the faculties 
and passions of human nature. 

The first characters which I could discriminate were 
those of my own family, which I was able to mark at 
a very early age. My father was of a moderate 
understanding, of ordinary learning and accomplish- 
ments for the times, for he was born in 1690 ; of a 
warm, open, and benevolent temper ; most faithful 
and diligent in the duties of his office, and an ortho- 
dox and popular orator. He was entirely beloved 
and much caressed by the whole parish.* My mother 
was a person of superior understanding, of a calm and 
firm temper, of an elegant and reflecting mind ; and 
considering that she was the eldest of seven daughters 

* He was minister of the itarish of Prcston])ans. 


and three sons of a country clergyman, near Dum- 
fries, and was born in 1700, she had received an 
education, and improved by it, far beyond what could 
have been expected. Good sense, however, and dignity 
of conduct, were her chief attributes. The effect of 
this was, that she was as much respected as my father 
was beloved. 

They were in very narrow circumstances till the 
stipend was largely augmented in the year 1732. 
Two of the judges, who were his heritors. Lords 
Grange and Drummore, came down from the bench 
and pleaded his cause.* And the estate of the patron, 
then Morison of Prestongrange, being under seques- 
tration, it was with little difficidty that a greater 
augmentation than was usual at that period was 
obtained ; for the stipend was raised by it from £70 
to <£140 per annum. 

In the year 1 729, the good people had a visit from 
London that proved expensive and troublesome. It 
was Mrs Lyon, a sister of my father's, and her son and 
daughter. Her deceased husband was Mr Lyon of 
Easter Ogill, a branch of the Strathmore family, who 
had been in the EebeUion 1715, and, havino^ been 
pardoned, had attempted to carry on business in 
London, but was riuned in the South Sea.f This 
lady, who came down on business, after a few weeks 
w^ent into lodgings in Edinburgh, where she lost her 

* His heritors— that is to say, proimetors of land in his parish liable to 
contribute to the {ayment of his stipend. — Ed. 
t Viz., the South-Sea Scheme. 


daughter iu the smallpox, and soon after returned 
to my father's, where she remained for some months. 
She was young and beautiful, and vain, not so much 
of her person (to which she had a good title) as of her 
husband's great family, to which she annexed her own, 
and, by a little stretch of imagination and a search 
into antiquity, made it great also. Her son, who was 
a year and a half older than myself, was very hand- 
some and good-natured, though much indulged. My 
father was partial to him, and I grew a little jealous. 
But the excess of his mother's fondness soon cured my 
father of his ; and as I was acknowledged to be the 
better scholar of the two, I soon lost all uneasiness, 
and came to love my cousin most sincerely, though 
he intercepted many of the good things that I should 
have got. 

Not long after this, another sister of my father's 
came down from London, who was a widow also, but 
had no children. She staid with us for a year, and 
during that time taught me to read English, with 
just pronunciation and a very tolerable accent — an 
accomplishment which in those days was very rare. 
Long before she came down, I had been taught to 
read by an old woman, who kept a school, so per- 
fectly, that at six years of age I had read a large 
portion of the Bible to a dozen of old women, who 
had been excluded the church by a crowed which 
had made me leave it also, and whom I observed sit- 
ting on the outside of a door, where they could not 
hear. Upon this I proposed to read a portion of 


Scripture to them, to which they agreed, and set me 
on a tombstone, whence I read verj- audibly to a con- 
gregation, which increased to about a score, the whole 
of the Song of Solomon. This would not deserve to 
be notod, but for the effect it had afterwards. 

There lived in the town and parish of Prestonpans 
at this time several respectable and wealthy people — 
such as the Mathies, the Hogs, the Youngs, and the 
Shirreffs. There still remained some foreiorn trade, 
though their shipping had been reduced from twenty 
to half the number since the Union, which put an end 
to the foreign trade in the ports of the Firth of Forth. 
There was a custom-house established here, the supe- 
rior officers of which, with their families, added to the 
mercantile class which still remained, made a respect- 
able society enough. 

The two great men of the parish, however, were 
Morison of Prestongrange, the patron, and the Hon- 
ourable James Erskine of Grange, one of the Supreme 
Judges. The first was elected Member of Parliament 
for East Lothian in the first Parliament of Great 
Britain, although the celebrated Andrew Fletcher of 
Saltoun was the other candidate. But Government 
took part with Morison, and Fletcher had only nine 
votes. Morison had been very rich, but had suffered 
himself to be stripped by the famous gambler of those 
times. Colonel Charteris, whom I once saw with him 
in church, when I was five or six years of age ; and 
being fully impressed with the popular opinion that 
he was a wizard, who had a fascinating power, I never 


once took my eyes off him during the whole service, 
beheving that I should be a dead man the moment I 
did. This Colonel Charteris was of a very ancient 
family in Dumfriesshire, the first of whom, being one 
of the followers of Robert Bruce, had acquired a great 
estate, a small part of which is still in the family. 
The colonel had been otherwise well connected, for he 
was cousin- german to Sir Francis Kinloch, and, when 
a boy, was educated with him at the village school. 
Many stories were told of him, which would never 
have been heard of had he not afterwards been so 
much celebrated in the annals of infamy. He was a 
great profligate, no doubt, but there have been as bad 
men and greater plunderers than he was, who have 
escaped with little public notice. But he was one of 
the Eunners of Sir Robert Walpole, and defended him 
in all places of resort, which drew the wrath of the 
Tories upon him, and particularly sharpened the pens 
of Pope and Arbuthnot against him. For had it not 
been for the w^itty epitaph of the latter, Charteris 
might have escaped in the crowd of gamesters and 
debauchees, who are only railed at by their pigeons, 
and soon fall into total oblivion. This simple gentle- 
man's estate [Morison's] soon went under seques- 
tration for the payment of his debts. He was so 
imaginary and credulous as to believe that close by 
his creek of Morison's Haven was the place where St 
John wrote the Apocalypse, because some old vaults 
had been discovered in digging a mill-race for a mill 
that went by sea-water. This had probably been put 


iuto his head by the annual meeting of the oldest 
lodge of operative masons in Scotland at that place 
on St John's Day. 

IMy Lord Grange was the leading man in the parish, 
and had brought my father to Prestonpans from Cum- 
bertrees in his native county Annandale, where he had 
been settled for four years, and where I was born. 
Lord Grange was Justice-Clerk in the end of Queen 
Anne's reign, but had been dismissed from that office 
in the beginning of the reign of George I., when his 
brother, the Earl of Mar, lost the Secretary of State's 
office, which he had held for some years. After this, 
and during the Rebellion, Lord Grange kept close at 
his house of Preston, on an estate which he had re- 
cently bought from the . heirs of a Dr Oswald, but 
which had not long before been the family estate of a 
very ancient cadet of the family of Hamilton. Dur- 
ing the Rebellion, and some time after, Lord Grange 
amused himself in laying out and planting a fine 
garden, in the style of those times, full of close walks 
and labyrinths and wildernesses, which, though it did 
not occupy above four or five acres, cost one at least 
two hours to perambulate. This garden or pleasure- 
ground was soon brought to perfection by his defend- 
ing it from the westerly and south-westerly winds by 
hedges of common elder, which in a few years were 
above sixteen feet high, and completely sheltered all 
the interior grounds. This garden continued to be 
an object of curiosity down to the year 1740, insomuch 
that flocks of company resorted to it from Edinburgh, 


during the summer, on Saturdays and Mondays (for 
Sunday was not at that time a day of pleasure), and 
were highly gratified by the sight, there being nothing 
at that time like it in Scotland, except at Alloa, the 
seat of the Earl of Mar, of which indeed it was a 
copy in miniature. 

My Lady Grange was Rachel Chiesly, the daughter 
of Chiesly of Dairy, the person who shot President 
Lockhart in the dark, when standing within the head 
of a close in the Lawnmarket, because he had voted 
against him in a cause depending before the Court.* 
He was the son or grandson of a Chiesly, who, in 
Baillies Letters, is called Man to the famous Mr Alex- 
ander Henderson ; that is to say, secretary, for he 
accompanied Mr Henderson on his journey to London, 
and having met the Court somewhere on their way, 
Chiesly was knighted by Charles L ; so that, being a 
new family, they must have had few relations, which, 
added to the atrocious deed of her father, had made 
the public very cool in the interest of Lady Grange. 
This lady had been very beautiful, but was of a violent 
temper. She had, it was said, been debauched by her 
husband before marriage ; and as he was postponing 

* It was not, strictly speaking, a decision of the Conrt that infuriated 
Chiesly, but a finding in an arbitration. He was desirous, and thought 
himself entitled, to leave his wife, with whona he had quarrelled, and his 
children, to starve. The question of liis liability for their support having 
been referred to President Lockhart and Lord Kemnay, they found him 
boimd to make his family an allowance. It may be proper to exjJain that 
Grange and his wife were not Lord and Lady in the English sense, as a jwer 
and peeress, but by the custom of Scotland, which gives " Lord" to a judge, 
and used to give " Lady" to the wife of a landed i)roprietor. — Ed. 


or evading the performance of his promise to marry 
her, it was believed that, by threatening his life, she 
had obtained the fulfilment of it. 

It was Lord Grange's custom to go frequently to 
London in the spring ; and though he seemed quiet and 
inactive here, it was supposed that he resented his 
having been turned out of the Justice-Clerk's office in 
1714, and might secretly be carrying on plots when 
at London. Be that as it may, he had contracted 
such a violent aversion at Sir Robert Walpole, that 
having, by intrigue and hypocrisy, secured a majority 
of the district of burg-hs of which Stirlinor is the 
chief, he threw up his seat as a Judge in the Court of 
Session, was elected member for that district, and 
went to London to attend Parliament, and to overturn 
Sir Robert Walpole, not merely in his own opinion, 
but in the opinion of many who were dupes to his 
cunning, and his pretensions to abilities that he had 
not.* But his first appearance in the House of Com- 
mons undeceived his sanguine friends, and silenced 
him for ever. He chose to make his maiden speech 
on the Witches BiU, as it was called ; and being 
learned in deemonologia, with books on which subject 
his library was filled, he made a long canting speech 
that set the House in a titter of laughter, and convinced 
Sir Robert that he had no need of any extraordinary 
armour against this champion of the house of jMar.t 

* A Bill to regulate elections in Scotland vras then passing, and Walpole 
addetl to it a clause disqiialif j-ing Judges of the Court of Session from sitting 
in Parliament, for the piirjjose, it was said, of keeping Erskine out. — Ed. 

t The ' ' Act to repeal the statute made in the firet year of King James I. , 


The truth was, that the man had neither- learning nor 
ability. He was no lawyer, and he was a bad speaker. 
He had been raised on the shoulders of his brother, 
the Earl of Mar, in the end of the Queen's reign, but 
had never distinguished himself. In the General As- 
sembly itself, which many gentlemen afterwards made 
a school of popular eloquence, and where he took the 
high-flying side that he might annoy Government, his 
appearances were but rare and unimpressive ; but as 
he was understood to be a great plotter, he was sup- 
posed to reserve himself for some greater occasions. 

In Mr Erskine's annual visits to London, he had 
attached himself to a mistress, a handsome Scotch- 
woman, Fanny Lindsay, who kept a coffeehouse about 
the bottom of the Hay market. This had come to his 
lady's ears, and did not tend to make her less out- 
rageous. He had taken every method to soothe her. 
As she loved command, he had made her factor upon 
his estate, and given her the whole management of 
his affairs. When absent, he wrote her the most 
flattering letters, and, what was still more flattering, 

intituled 'An Act against Conjuration, Witchcraft, and dealing with 
evil and wicked Spirits, except so much thereof," &c., was passed early 
in the session of 1735. Unfortunately, we have no account of any debate 
on the measiire, and thus lose Erskine's speech, which was probably ciu-ioup, 
for the vulgar superstitions of the day seem to have taken fast hold on him, 
and his diary is fidl of dreams, prognostics, and commimings with ]>ersons 
sui)ematurally gifted. The tenor of his "canting sjieech" may perhaps be 
inferred from the following testimony borne in 1743 against the same Bill, 
by the Associate Presbj-tery : " The penal statutes against witches have 
been repealed by the Parliament, contrary to the express law of God; 
by which a holy God may be provoked, in a way of righteous judgment, to 
leave those who are already ensnared to be hardened more and more, and 
to permit Satan to temjit and seduce others to the same wicked and danger- 
ous snares." — Ed. 


he was said, when present, to have imparted secrets 
to her, which, if disclosed, might have reached his life. 
Still she was unquiet, and led him a miserable life. 
What was true is uncertain ; for though her outward 
appearance was stormy and outrageous. Lord Grange 
not improbably exaggerated the violence of her behav- 
iour to his faraiUar friends as an apology for what he 
afterwards did ; for he alleged to them that his life 
was hourly in danger, and that she slept with lethal 
weapons under her pillow. He once showed my father 
a razor which he had found concealed there. 

Whatever might be the truth, he executed one oi 
the boldest and most violent projects that ever had 
been attempted since the nation was governed by 
laws ; for he seized his lady in his house in Edin- 
burgh, and by main force carried her off through 
Stirling to the Highlands, whence, after several weeks, 
she was at last landed in St Kilda, a desolate isle in 
the Western Ocean, sixty miles distant from the Long 
Island. There she continued to live to the end of her 
days, which was not before the year 17 — , in the most 
wretched condition, in the society of none but sav- 
ages, and often with scanty provision of the coarsest 
fare, and but rarely enjoying the comfort of a pound 
of tea, which she sometimes got from shipmasters who 
accidentally called.* Lord Granges accomplices in 

* She was carried oflF in 1732 ; and after being detainetl about two years 
in the small island of Hesker, was conveyed to St EUda. On the affair 
getting wind, she was afterwards removed to Harris, where she died in 1745, 
before the arrangements for oljtaining her release, and a full inquiry into the 
aSbir, could be completed.— Ed. 


this atrocious act were believed to be Lord Lovat and 
the Laird of M'Leod, the first as being the most famous 
plotter in the kingdom, and the second as equally 
unprincipled, and the proprietor of the island of St 
Kilda. What was most extraordinary was, that, except 
in conversation for a few weeks only, this enormous 
act, committed in the midst of the metropolis of Scot- 
land by a person who had been Lord Justice-Clerk, 
was not taken the least notice of by any of her own 
family, or by the King's Advocate or Solicitor, or any 
of tlie guardians of the laws. Two of her sons were 
grown up to manhood — her eldest daughter was the 
wife of the Earl of Kintore — who acquiesced in what 
they considered as a necessary act of justice for the 
preservation of their father's life. Nay, the second 
son was supposed to be one of the persons who came 
masked to the house, and carried her off in a chair to 
the place where she was set on horseback. 

This artful man, by cant and hypocrisy, persuaded 
all his intimate friends that this act was necessary 
for the preservation of her life as well as of his ; 
and that it was only confining a mad woman in a 
place of safety, where she was tenderly cared for, and 
for whom he professed not merely an afiectionate re- 
gard, but the most passionate love. It was many years 
afterwards before it w^as known that she had been sent 
to such a horrid place as St Kilda ; and it was gene- 
rally believed that she was kept comfortably, though in 
confinement, in some castle in the Highlands belonging 
to Lovat or M'Leod. The public in general, though 


clamorous enough, could take no step, seeing that the 
fiimily were not displeased, and supposing that Lord 
Grange had satisfied the Justice-Clerk and other high 
officers of the law with the propriety of his conduct. 

From what I could learn at the time, and after- 
wards came to know. Lord Grange was in one respect 
a character not unlike Cromwell and some of his asso- 
ciates — a real enthusiast, but at the same time licen- 
tious in his morals. 

He had my father very frequently with him in the 
evenings, and kept him to very late hours. They 
were imderstood to pass much of their time in prayer, 
and in settling the high points of Calvinism ; for their 
creed was that of Geneva. Lord Grange was not un- 
entertaining in conversation, for he had a great many 
anecdotes which he related agreeably, and was fair- 
complexioned, good-looking, and insinuating. 

After those meetings for private prayer, however, 
in which they passed several hours before supper, 
praying alternately, they did not part without wine ; 
for my mother used to complain of their late hours, 
and suspected that the claret had flowed liberally.* 

* Those meetings might partly be calculated to keep Grange free of his 
wife's company, which was always stormy and outrageoiis. I remember well 
that when I was invited on Saturdays to pass the afternoon with the two 
youngest daughters, Jean and Rachel, and their younger brother John, who 
was of my age, then about six or seven, although they had a well fitted-up 
closet for children's play, we always kept alternate watch at the dot)r, lest 
my lady should come suddenly upon us ; which was needless, as I observed 
to them, for her clamour was sufQciently loud as she came through the 
rooms and passages. 

In the "Recollections" there is the following account of an interview 
with the lady : — 

" I had travelled half a mile westwards to the Red Bum, which divides 


Notwithstanding this intimacy, there were periods of 
half a year at a time when there was no intercourse 
between them at all. My father's conjecture was, 
that at those times he was engaged in a course of de- 

Prestonpans from its siibvirbs the Cuthill, and was hovering on the brink of 
this river, uncertain whether or not I should venture over. In this state I 
v/as met by a coach, which stopped, and which was under the command of 
Lady Grange. She ordered her footman to seize me directly and pxit me 
into the coach. It was in vain to fly, so I was flmig into her coach reluc- 
tant and sidky. She tried to soothe me, but it would not do. She had 
provoked me on the Sunday, by telling my father that I played myself at 
church, that she had detected me smUing at her son John (exactly of my 
age), and trying to wiite with my finger on the dusty desk that was before me. 
She was gorgeously dressed : her face was like the moon, and patched all over, 
not for ornament, but use. For these eighty years that I have been wander- 
ing in this wdlderness, I have seen nothing like her but General Dickson of 
Kilbucho. In short, she appeared to me to be the lady with whom all well- 
educated children were acquainted, the Great Scarlet Whore of Babylon. 
She landed me at my father's door, and gave me to my mother, with injunc- 
tions to keep me nearer home, or I would be lost. This, however, drew on 
a nearer connection, for the two misses, who had been in the coach, came 
down Avith Jolui, who was yoimger than them, and invited me to drink tea 
with them next Saturday : to this I had no aversion, and weut accordingly. 
The young ladies had a fine closet, charmingly furnished, with chairs, a 
table, a set of china and everything belonging to it. The misses set about 
making tea, for they had a fire in the room, and a maid came to helj) them, 
tdl at length we heard a shrill voice screaming, ' Mary Erskine, my angel 
Mary Erskine ! ' 

"This was Coimtess of Kintore afterwards, and now very near that honoiu". 
The girls seemed frightened out of their wits, and so did the maid. The 
clamour ceased ; but the girls ordered John and me to stand sentry in our 
txims, with vigilant ear, and give them notice whenever the storm began 
again. We had sweet-cake and almonds and raisins, of which a small 
paper bag was given me for my brother Loudwick, James, Lord Grange's 
godson, who came last, being still at nurse. I had no great enjoyment, 
notwithstanding the good things and the kisses given, for I had by contagion 
caught a mighty fear of my lady from them. But I was soon relieved, for 
my father's man came for me at seven o'clock. The moment I was out of 
sight of the house, I took out my paper bag and ate up its contents, l)ril)ing 
the servant with a few, for Loudwck was gone to his native country to die 
at our grandfather's. When I read the fable of the ' City Mouse and 
Coimtry Mouse,' this .scene came fresh to my memory. What trials and 
■dangei's have children to go tlirough I " 


bauchery at Edinburgh, and interrupted his religious 
exercises. For in those intervals he not only neglected 
my father's company, but absented himself from church, 
and did not attend the sacrament — religious services 
which at other times he would not have neglected for 
the world. Keport, however, said that he and his 
associates, of whom a Mr Michael Menzies, a brother 
of the I.aird of St Germains, and Thomas Elliott, W.S. 
(the father of Sir John Elliott, physician in London), 
were two, passed their time in alternate scenes of the 
exercises of religion and debauchery, spending the day 
in meetings for prayer and pious conversation, and 
their nights in lewdness and reveUinsj. Some men 
are of opinion that they could not be equally sincere 
in both. I am apt to think that they were, for 
human nature is capable of wonderful freaks. There 
is no doubt of their profligacy ; and I have frequently 
seen them drowned in tears, during the whole of a 
sacramental Sunday, when, so far as my observation 
could reach, they could have no rational object in act- 
ing a part.* The Marquess of Lothian of that day, 

* Grange kept a diary, a portion of which was printed in 1834^ under the 
title. Extracts jyom the Diary of a Member of the College of Justice. It tends, 
on the whole, to confirm Carlyle's view of his character ; but it is drier read- 
ing than one would expect from the self-commimings of a man whose char- 
acter was cast between extremes so wide apart, and whose career had been 
so remarkable. Along with the hankering after dreams and prophecies 
already aUuded to, it contains chiefly accounts of his conduct and views in 
the proceedings of the church courts. It mentions some pieces of conduct 
on his own part, which, if not criminal, would not then, or now, be deemed 
very consistent with honoiu" — as, for instance, how he examined a private 
diary kept by the family tutor, in order that he might see what was said 
therein about himself and his household ; and the result, as peojJe who piur- 
sue such investigations usually find, was not agreeable. Each reader will 


whom I have seen attending the sacrament at Pres- 
tonpans with Lord Grange, and whom no man sus- 
pected of plots or hypocrisy, was much addicted to 
debauchery. The natural casuistry of the passions 
grants dispensations with more facility than the Church 
of Kome. 

About this time two or three other remarkable men 
came to live in the parish. The celebrated Col. Gar- 
diner bought the estate of Banktoun, where Lord Drum- 
more had resided for a year or two before he bought 
the small estate of Westpans, which he called Drum- 
more, and where he resided till his death in 1755. 

The first Gardiner, who was afterwards killed in the 
battle of Preston, was a noted enthusiast, a very weak, 
honest, and brave man, who had once been a great 
rake, and was converted, as he told my father, by his 
reading a book called Gurnall's Christian Armour, 
which his mother had put in his trunk many years 
before. He had never looked at it till one day at 
Paris, where he was attending the Earl of Stair, who 
was ambassador to that court from the year 1715 to 
the Eegent's death, when, having an intrigue with a 

judge for himself how much sincerity there is in the following extract from 
the diary: — " I have reason to thank God that I was put out from the office 
of Justice -Clerk, for beside many reasons from the times and my own circiun- 
stances, and other reasons from myself, this one is sufficient — that I have 
thereby so miich more time to emi)loy about God and religion. If I con- 
sider how very much more I have since 1 was neither concerned in the 
Court of Justiciary nor in the politics, how can I answer for the little 
advances I have made in the knowledge of religion ? If, while I have that 
leisure, I be enabled, through grace, to improve it for that end, I need not 
grudge the want of the £400 sterling yearly : for this is worth all the world, 
and God can i)rovide for my family in his own good time and way."— (P. 34. 


surgeon's wife, and the hour of appointment not being 
come, he thought he would pass the time in turning 
over the leaves of the book, to see what the divine 
could say about armour, which he thought he under- 
stood as well as he. He was so much taken with this 
book, that he allowed his hour of appointment to pass, 
never saw his mistress more, and from that day left 
off all his rakish habits, which consisted in swearing 
and whoring (for he never was a drinker), and the 
contempt of sacred things, and became a serious good 
Christian ever after. 

Dr Doddridge has marred this story, either through 
mistake, or throusfh a desire to make Gardiner's con- 
version more supernatural, for he says that his appoint- 
ment was at miduight, and introduces some sort of 
meteor or blaze of light, that alarmed the new con- 
vert.* But this was not the case ; for I have heard 
Gardiner tell the story at least three or four times, to 
different sets of people — for he was not shy or back- 
ward to speak on the subject, as many would have been. 
But it was at mid-day, for the appointment was at one 

* "He thought he saw an unusxial blaze of light fall on the book while he 
was reading, which he at first imagined might happen by some accident in 
the cantUe. But lifting up his eyes, he apprehended, to his extreme amaze- 
ment, that there was before him, as it were suspended in the air, a visible 
rei)resentation of the Lord Jescs Christ upon the Cross, siuTounded on all 
sides with a glory ; and was impressed as if a voice, or something equivalent 
to a voice, had come to him, to this effect (for he was not confident as to 
the very words), ' Oh, sinner I did I suffer this for thee, and are these the 
returns?' But whether this were an audible voice, or only a strong impres- 
sion on his mind equally striking, he did not seem very confident ; though, 
to the best of my remembrance, he rather judgetl it to be the former." — 
DoDDRUXiE's Remarkable Pasaagea tn the Life of Celond Gardiner, § 32. 



o'clock ; and he told us the reason of it, which was, that 
the surgeon, or apothecary, had shown some symptoms 
of jealousy, and they chose a time of day when he was 
necessarily employed abroad in his business. 

I have also conversed with my father upon it, after 
Doddridge's book was published, who always persisted 
in saying that the appointment was at one o'clock, 
for the reason mentioned, and that Gardiner having 
changed his lodging, he found a book when rummag- 
ing an old trunk to the bottom, which my father said 
was Gurnall's Christian Ai^mour, but to which Dod- 
dridge gives the name of The Christian Soldier ; or. 
Heaven Taken by Storm, by Thomas Watson.* Dod- 
dridge, in a note, says that his edition of the story 
was confirmed in a letter from a Eev. Mr Spears, in 
which there was not the least diflference from the ac- 
count he had taken down in writing the very night in 
which the Colonel had told him the story. This Mr 
Spears had been Lord Grange's chaplain, and I knew 
him to have no great regard to truth, when deviating 

* ' ' The Christian in Complete Armour ; or, A Treatise on the Saints' War 
with the Devil : wherein a discovery is made of the policy, power, wicked- 
ness, and stratagems made use of by that enemy of God and his peojJe ; a 
magazine opened from whence the Christian is furnished with special anns 
for the battle, assisted in buckling on his armom*, and taught the use of his 
weapons — together with the happy issue of the whole war. — By William 
GuRNALL, A.M., formerly of Lavenham, Suffolk. 1656-62." Three voliunes 
quarto. The Christian Soldier; or, Heaven Taken by Storm, one of many 
works written by Thomas Watson, one of the non-juring clergy driven out 
by the Act of Conformity, api)ears to be very rare ; it is not in the list of its 
author's works in Watt's BiUiotheca. Doddridge, before he wrote his well- 
known Remarkable Passaf/es, had preached and published a funeral sermon 
on Colonel Gardiner, which he called The Cliristian Warrior Animated and 
Crowned- an evident assimilation to the title of Watson's book. — Ed. 


from it suited his purpose ; at any rate, lie was not a 
man to contradict Doddridge, who had most likely 
told him his story. It is remarkable that, though the 
Doctor had written down everything exactly, and 
could take his oath, yet he had omitted to mark the 
day of the week on which the conversion happened, 
but, if not mistaken, thinks it was Sabbath. This 
aggravates the sin of the appointment, and hallows 
the conversion. 

The Colonel, who was truly an honest well-meaning 
man and a pious Christian, was very ostentatious ; 
though, to tell the truth, he boasted oftener of his 
conversion than of the dangerous battles he had 
been in. As he told the story, however, there was 
nothing supernatural in it ; for many a rake of about 
thirty years of age has been reclaimed by some cir- 
cumstance that set him a-thinking, as the accidental 
readinor of this book had done to Gardiner. He was 
a very skilful horseman, wliich had recommended him 
to Lord Stair as a suitable part of his train when he 
was ambassador at Paris, and lived in great splendour. 
Gardiner married Lady Frances Erskine, one of the 
daughters of the Earl of Buchan, a lively, little, de- 
formed woman, very religious, and a great breeder. 
Their children were no way distinguished, except the 
eldest daughter, Fanny, who was very beautiful, and 
became the wife of Sir James Baird. 

Lord Drummore, one of the Judges, was a second 
or third son of the President Sir Hew Dalr}^mple, of 
North Berwick, a man very popular and agreeable in 


his manners, and an universal favourite ! He was a 
great friend of the poor, not merely by giving alms, 
in which he was not slack, but by encouraging agri- 
culture and manufactures, and by devoting his spare 
time in acting as a justice of peace in the two 
parishes of Inveresk and Preston pans, where his estate 
lay, and did much to preserve the peace of the neigh- 
bourhood, and to promote the peace of the country. 
It were happy for the country, if every man of as 
much knowledge and authority as the Judges are sup- 
posed to have, would lay himself out as this good man 
did. By doing so they might prevent many a lawsuit 
that ends in the ruin of the parties. Lord Drummore 
had many children. 

Mr Robert Keith of Craig, who was afterwards am- 
bassador at many courts, and who was a man of 
ability and very agreeable manners, came also about 
this time to live in the parish. His sons. Sir Robert 
Murray Keith, K.B., and Sir Basil Keith, were after- 
wards well known.* 

There lived at the same time there, Colin Campbell, 
Esq., a brother of Sir James, of Arbruchal, who was 
Collector of the Customs ; and when he was appointed 

* Abundant information about this family will be found in the 3l emoirs 
and Corre^ondence of Sir Robert Murray Keith, 1849. The elder Keith was 
ambassador at Vienna, and subsequently at St Petersbiu-g, diu-ing the revolu- 
tion which placed the Empress Catherine on the throne. His wife was the 
prototype of Scott's sketch of Mrs Bethune Baliol. The son, Sir Robert, 
was the ambassador in Denmark who saved Queen Caroline Matilda, George 
III.'s sister, from the fate to which she was destined on account of the 
affair of Struensee. — Ed. 


a Commissioner of the Board of Customs, George 
Cheap, Esq., became his successor, a brother of the 
Laird of Eossie, all of whom had large families of 
seven or eight boys and girls, which made up a society 
of genteel young people seldom to be met with in such 
a place. 

When I was very young, I usually passed the school 
vacation, first at Mr ^lenzies', of St Germains, and 
afterwards at Seton House, when the family came to 
live there upon the sale of their estate. I was very 
often there, as I was a great favourite of the lady's, 
one of the Sinclairs of Stevenson, and of her two 
daughters, who were two or three years older than I 
was. These excursions from home opened the mind 
of a yoimg person, who had some turn for observation. 

The first journey I made, however, was to Dum- 
friesshire, in the summer 1733, when I was eleven 
years of age. There I not only became weU acquainted 
with my grandfather, Mr A. Eobison [minister of 
Tinwald], a very respectable clergyman, and with my 
grandmother, Mrs Jean Graham, and their then un- 
married daughters ; but I became well acquainted with 
the town of Dumfries, where I resided for several 
weeks at Provost Bell's, whose wife was one of my 
mother's sisters, two more of whom were settled in 
that town — one of them, the wife of the clergyman, 
Mr Wight, and the other of the sherifi-clerk. I was 
soon ver}^ intimate with a few boys of this town 
about my own age, and became a favourite by t^ach- 


ing them some of our sports and plays in the vicinity 
of the capital, that they had never heard.* 

At this time, too, I made a very agreeable tonr round 
the country with my father and Mr Kobert Jardine 
[minister of Lochmaben],the father of Dr Jardine, after- 
wards minister of Edinburgh. Though they were very 
orthodox and pious clergymen, they had, both of them, a 
very great turn for fun and buffoonery ; and wherever 
they went, made all the children quite happy, and set 
all the maids on the titter. That they might not want 
amusement, they took along with them, for the first 
two days, a Mess John Allan, a minister who lay in 
their route, with whom they could use every sort of 
freedom, and who was their constant butt. As he had 

* On this journey it was that I first witnessed an execution. There was 
one Jock Johnstone who had been condemned for robbery, and, being acces- 
sory to a murder, to be execiited at Dumfries. This fellow was but twenty 
years of age, but strong and bold, and a great ringleader. It was strongly 
reported that the thieves were collecting in all quarters, in order to come to 
Dumfries on the day of the execution, and make a deforcement as they were 
conducting Jock to the gallows, which was usually erected on a muir out of 
town. The magistrates became anxious ; and there being no military force 
nearer than Edinbm-gh, they resolved to erect the gallows before the door of 
the prison, with a scaffold or platform leading from the door to the fatal 
tree, and they armed about one hundred of their stoutest burgesses with 
Lochaber axes to form a guard roimd the scaffold. The day and hoiu- of 
execution came, and I was placed in the Avindow of the provost's house directly 
opposite the prison : the crowd was great, and the i)rei)arations alarming to a 
young imagination : at last the prison-door ojiened, and Jock ajipearcd, 
enclosed by six town-officers. When he first issued from the door, he 
looked a little astonished ; but looking round a whde, he proceeded with a 
bold step. Psalms and prayers being over, the rojie was fastened about his 
neck, and he was prompted to ascend a short ladder fastened to the gallows, 
to be thrown off. Here his resistance and my terror began. Jock was curly- 
haired and fierce-looking, and very strong of his size — about five feet eight 
inches. The moment they asked him to go up the ladder, he took hold 
of the rope round his neck, which was fastened to the gallows, and, with 


no resistance in him, and could only laugh when they 
rallied him, or played him boyish tricks, I thought it 
but very dull entertainment. Nor did I much ap- 
prove of their turning the backsides of their wigs 
foremost, and making faces to divert the children, in 
the midst of very grave discourse about the state of re- 
ligion in the country, and the progress of the gospel. 
Among the places we visited was Bridekirk, the seat 
of the eldest cadet of Lord Carlyle's family, of which 
my father was descended, I saw, likewise, a small 
pendicle of the estate which had been assigned as the 
portion of his grandfather, and which he himself had 
tried to recover by a lawsuit, but was defeated for 
want of a principal paper. We did not see the laird, 

repeated violent pulls, attempted to pull it down ; and his eflforts were so 
strong that it was feared he woidd have succeeded. The crowd, in the 
mean time, felt much emotion, and the fear of the magistrates increased. I 
wished myself on the top of CrifFel, or anywhere but there. But the at- 
tempt to go through the crowd appeared more dangerous than to stay where 
I was, out of sight of the gallows. I returned to my station again, resolving 
manfully to abide the worst extremity. 

Jock struggletl and roared, for he Ijecame like a furious wild beast, and all 
that six men could do, they could not bind him ; and having with wrestling 
hard forced up the pinions on his arms, they were afraid, and he became 
more formidable ; when one of the magistrates, recollecting that there was a 
master mason or carpenter, of the name of Baxter, who was by far the 
strongest man in Diunfries, they with difficulty prevailed vrith him, for the 
honour of the town, to come on the scaffold. He came, and, putting aside 
the six men who were keeping him down, he seized him, and made no more 
difficulty than a nurse does in handling her child : he bound him hand and 
foot in a few minutes, and laid him quietly down on his face near the edge 
of the scaffold, and retired. Jock, the moment he felt his grasp, found him- 
self sulxiued, and became calm, and resigned himself to his fate. This 
dreadfid scene cost me many nights' sleep. 

[^X.B. — The greater iK>rtion of this narrative is taken from the "Recollec- 
tions," where it is more fully, anil, as it seemed to the Etlitor, more inctur- 
esquely told, than in the note appended by the author to his Autobiograjihy.] 


who was from home ; but we saw the lady, who was 
a much greater curiosity. She was a very large and 
powerful virago, about forty years of age, and received 
us with much kindness and hospitality ; for the 
brandy-bottle — a Scotch pint— made its appearance 
immediately, and we were obliged to take our morning, 
as they called it, which was indeed the universal 
fashion of the country at that time. This lady, who, I 
confess, had not many charms for me, was said to be 
able to empty one of those large bottles of brandy, 
smuggled from the Isle of Man, at a sitting. They 
had no whisky at that time, there being then no dis- 
tilleries in the south of Scotland.* 

The face of the country was particularly desolate, 
not having yet reaped any benefit from the union of 
the Parliaments ; nor was it recovered from the efi'ects 

* This interview is thus related in the ' ' Recollections : " — 
"The laird was gone to Dumfries, much to our disappointment ; but the 
lady came out, and, in her excess of kindness, had almost pulled Mr Jardine 
off his horse ; but they were obstinate, and said they were obliged to go to 
Kelhead ; but they delivered up Mess John Allan to her, as they had no 
farther use for him. I had never seen such a virago as Lady Bridekirk, not 
even among the oyster- women of Prestonpans. She was like a sergeant of 
foot in women's clothes ; or rather like an overgrown coachman of a Quaker 
persuasion. On onr peremptory refusal to alight, she darted into the house 
like a hogshead down a slope, and returned instantly with a pint bottle of 
brandy — a Scots pint, I mean — and a stray beer-glass, into which she filled 
almost a bimaper. After a long grace said 1 ly Mr Jardine — for it was liis turn 
now, being the third brandy-bottle we had seen since we left Lochmaben — 
she emptied it to oiu' healths, and made the gentlemen follow her example : 
she said she would spare me as I was so young, but ordered a maid to bring a 
gingerbread cake from the cupboard, a luncheon of which she put in my pocket. 
This lady was famous, even in the Annandale border, both at the bowl and 
in battle : she coiild di'ink a Scots pint of brandy with ease ; and when the 
men grew oljstrejterous in their cups, she coidd either put them out of doors, 
or to bed, as she found most convenient." 


of that century of wretched government which pre- 
ceded the Eevohition, and commenced at the accession 
of James. The Border wars and depredations had 
happily ceased ; but the borderers, having lost what 
excited their activity, were in a dormant state during 
the whole of the seventeenth century, unless it was 
during the time of the grand Eebellion, and the strug- 
gles between Episcopacy and Presbytery. 

On this excursion we dined with Sir William Dou- 
glas of Kelhead, whose grandfather was a son of the 
family of Queensberry. When he met us in his stable- 
yard, I took him for a grieve or barnman, for he 
wore a blue bonnet over his thin grey hairs, and a 
hodden-grey coat. But on a nearer view of him, he 
appeared to be well-bred and sensible, and was parti- 
cularly kind to my father, who, I understood, had 
been his godson, having been born in the neighbour- 
hood on a farm his father rented from Sir William, 
My father's mother, who was Jean Jardine, a daughter 
of the family of Applegarth, had died a week after his 
birth in 1690. His father Hved till 1721. 

In the evening we went to visit an old gentleman, 
a cousin of my father's, James Carlyle of Braken- 
whate, who had been an officer in James II.'s time, 
and threw up his commission at the Eevolution rather 
than take the oaths. He was a little fresh-lookinor old 


man of eighty-six, very lively in conversation, and par- 
ticularly fond of my father. His house, which was not 
much better than a cottage, though there were two 
rooms above stairs as well as below, was full of guns 


and swords, and other warlike instruments. He liad 
been so dissolute in liis youth that his nickname in 
the country was Jamie Gaeloose. His wife, who ap- 
peared to be older than himself, though she was seven 
years younger, was of a very hospitable disposition. 
This small house being easily filled, I went to bed in 
the parlour while the company were at supper. But, 
tired as I was, it was long before I fell asleep ; for as 
my father had told me that I was to sleep with my 
cousin, I was in great fear that it would be the old 
woman. Weariness overcame my fear, however, and 
I did not awake till the tea-things were on the table, 
and did not know that it was the old gentleman who 
slept with me till my father afterwards told me, 
which relieved me from my anxious curiosity. After 
breakfast our old friend would needs give us a con- 
voy, and mounted his horse, a grey stallion of about 
fourteen and a half hands high, as nimbly as if he 
had been only thirty. Not long after he separated 
from us, I took an opportunity of asking my father 
what had been the subject of a very earnest conversa- 
tion he had had the evening before, when they were 
walking in the garden. He told me that his cousin 
had pressed him very much to accept of his estate, 
which he would dispose to him, as his only surviving 
daughter had distressed him by her marriage, and he 
had no liking to her children. My father had rejected 
his proposal, and taken much pains to convince the 
old gentleman of the injustice and cruelty of his pro- 
cedure, which had made him loud and angry, and had 


drawn my curious attention. He died three years 
after, without a will, and the little estate was soon 
drowned in debt and absorbed into the great one, 
which made my father say afterwards that he believed 
he had been righteous ovei'much. 

This was the first opportunity I had of being well 
acquainted with my grandfather, Mr Alexander Robi- 
son, who was a man very much respected for his good 
sense and steadiness, and moderation in church courts. 
He had been minister at Tinwald since the year 1697, 
and was a member of the commission which sat during 
the Union Parliament. He was truly a man of a 
sound head, and in the midst of very warm times was 
resorted to by his neighbours, both laity and clergy, 
for temperate and sound advice. He lived to the 
year 1761, and I passed several summers, and one 
winter entirely, at his house, when I was a student. 
He had a tolerably good collection of books, was a 
man of a liberal mind, and had more allowance to 
give to people of different opinions, and more indul- 
gence to the levities of youth, than any man I ever 
knew of such strict principles and conduct. His wife, 
Jean Graham, connected with many of the principal 
families in Galloway, and descended by her mother 
from the Queensberry family (as my father was, at a 
greater distance by his mother, of the Jardine Hall 
family), gave the worthy people and their children an 
air of greater consequence than their neighbours of 
the same rank, and tended to make them deserve the 
respect which was shown them. When I look back 


on the fulness of very good living to their numerous 
family, and to their cheerful hospitality to strangers — 
when I recollect the decent education they gave their 
children, and how happily the daughters were settled 
in the world ; and recollect that they had not £70 
per annum besides the £500 w^hich was my grand- 
mother's portion, £100 of which was remaining for 
the three eldest daughters as they w^ere married off in 
their turns, it appears quite surprising how it was 
possible for them to live as they did, and keep their 
credit. What I have seen, both at their house and my 
father's, on their slender incomes, surpasses all belief. 
But it was wonderful what moderation and a strict 
economy was able to do in those days. 

In my infancy I had witnessed the greatest trial 
they had ever gone through. Their eldest son, a 
youth of eighteen, who had studied at Glasgow Col- 
lege, but was to go to the Divinity Hall at Edinburgh 
in winter 1724, to be near my father, then removed to 
Prestonpans, went to Dumfries to bid farewell to his 
second sister, Mrs Bell, and left the town in a clear 
frosty night in the beginning of December, but having 
missed the road about a mile from Dumfries, fell into 
a peat pot, as it is called, and was drowned. He 
was impatiently expected at night, and next morn- 
ing. My brother and I had got some halfpence to 
give him to purchase some sugar -plums for us, so 
that we w^ere not the least impatient of the family. 
What was our disappointment, w^hen, about eleven 
o'clock, information came that he had been drowned 


and our comfits lost ! This I mention merely to note 
at what an early age interesting events make an im- 
pression on children's memories, for I was then only 
two years and t^n months old, and to this day I re- 
member it as well as any event of my life * 

Two years after this journey into my native country, 
which had the effect of attaching me very much to my 
grandfather and his family, and gave him a great 
ascendant over my mind, I was sent to the CoUege of 
Edinburgh, which I entered on the 1st of November 
1735.f I had the good-luck to be placed in a house 
in Edinburgh where there was very good company ; 
for John, afterwards Colonel Maxwell, and his brother 
Alexander, were boarded there, whose tutor, being an 
acquaintance of my father s, took some charge of me. 
John Witherspoon, the celebrated doctor, was ako in 
the house ; and Sir Harry Nisbet of Dean, and John 

* Here it may not be imjHoper to relate an extratHdinaiy incidoit to show 
haw soon boys are capaUe ai deep impoatar& Tbere was a boy at sdioQl in 
tihe same class with me whose name was Msthie. He was t&j intimate 
with me^ and was between eleren and twelve yeais old, when all at once he 
produced mote mimi^ than anybody, thon^ his moflicr was an indigent 
widow of a ahipmasto; and continaed only to deal in hoops and stares £<»* 
tiie support ci her £unily. This boy having at diGTerent times showed xaore 
money than I thfon^it he had any lij^t to have, I preyed him vety (dose to 
tdl me how he had got it. After many shifts, he at last told me that his 
grandfather had ^ipeared to him in an evening, and disclosed a hiddoi trea- 
sure in the garret of his mothers house, between the floor and the ceiling. 
He pretended to show me tiie spot, but wonld never open it to me. He 
made sevo^ a^tHntmoits with me, which I kept, to meet ihe old graitle- 
man, bat he never sppeated. I tried every method to make him confess his 
imposture, but without tikcL After some time, I heard that he had robbed 
his mother's drawers. 

■f We had a very good master at ftestonpans, an Alexander Hannan, an 
old fellow-student of my fathet's^ whom he hniu^t there, and who implicitly 
followed his directions. He possessed CTcdlent tnnslatiana ol the dawarat 


Dalrymple, now Sir John of Cranstoun, not being 
able to afford tutors of their own, and being near 
relations of the Maxwells, came every afternoon to 
prepare their lessons under the care of our tutor. 

The future life and public character of Dr Wither- 
spoon are perfectly known. At the time I speak of 
he was a good scholar, far advanced for his age, very 
sensible and shrewd, but of a disagreeable temper, 
which was irritated by a flat voice and awkward 
manner, which prevented his making an impression 
on his companions of either sex that was at all ade- 
quate to his ability. This defect, when he was a lad, 
stuck to him when he grew up to manhood, and 
so much roused his envy and jealousy, and made him 
take a road to distinction very different from that 
of his more successful companions.* 

John Maxwell was remarkably tall and well made, 
and one of the handsomest youths of his time, but of 
such gentle manners and so soft a temper that nobody 
could then foresee that he was to prove one of the 
bravest officers in the allied army under Prince Ferdi- 
nand in the year 1759. 

Sir Harry Nisbet was a very amiable youth, who 
took also to the army, was a distinguished officer and 
remarkably handsome, but fell at an early age in the 
battle of Val [^] 

The character of Sir John Dalrymple, whom I shall 
have occasion to mention afterwards, is perfectly 

* Though Witherspoon is now little remembered, an account of his rather 
remarkable career will be foimd in the ordinary biographical dictionaries. — Ed. 


known ; it is sufficient to say here tliat tlie blossom 
promised better fruit.* 

I was entered in Mr Kerr's class, who was at that 
time Professor of Humanity, and was very much 
master of his business. Like other schoolmasters, he 
was very partial to his scholars of rank, and having 
two lords at his class — viz., Lord Balgonie and Lord 
Dalziel — he took great pains to make them (especially 
the first, for the second was hardly ostensible) appear 
among the best scholars, which would not do, and 
only served to make him ridiculous, as well as his 
young lord. The best by far at the class were Colonel 
Eobert Hepburn of Keith; James Edgar, Esq., after- 
wards a Commissioner of the Customs ;f Alexander 
Tait, Esq., Clerk of Session ; and Alexander Bertram, 
of the Nisbet family, who died young. William 
Wnkie the poet and I came next in order, and he 
(Mr Kerr) used to allege long after that we turned 
Latin into English better than they did, though we 
could not so well turn English into Latin ; which 
was probably owing to their being taught better at 
the High School than we were in the country. I 
mention those circumstances because those gentle- 
men continued to keep the same rank in society 
when they grew up that they held when they were 
boys. I was sent next year to the first class of 

* The author of the Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, in which so 
much light is thrown on the history of the later Stewarts and the Revolution 
l)eriod. — Ed. 

+ Ajx accoimt of " Commissioner Edgar " will be found in Kay's Edinhunjh 
Portraits. — Ed. 


matliematics, taught by Mr M'Laurin, which cost me 
little trouble, as ray father had carried me through 
the first book of Euclid in the summer. In this 
branch I gained an ascendant over our tutor, Pat. 
Baillie, afterwards minister of Borrowstounness, which 
he took care never to forget. He was a very good 
Latin scholar, and so expert in the Greek that he 
taught Professor Drummond's class for a whole winter 
when he was ill. But he had no mathematics, nor 
much science of any kind. One night, when I was 
conning my Latin lesson in the room with him and 
his pupils, he was going over a proposition of Euclid 
with John Maxwell, who had hitherto got no hold of 
the science. He blundered so excessively in doing this 
that I could not help laughing aloud. He was en- 
raged at first, but, when calm, he bid me try if I could 
do it better. I went through the proposition so 
readily that he committed John to my care in that 
branch, which he was so good-natured as not to take 
amiss, though he was a year older than I was. At 
the end of a week he fell into the proper train 
of thinking, and needed assistance no longer. Mr 
M'Laurin was at this time a favourite professor, and 
no wonder, as he was the clearest and most agreeable 
lecturer on that abstract science that ever I heard. 
He made mathematics a fashionable study, which was 
felt afterwards in the war that followed in 1 743, when 
nine-tenths of the engineers of the army were Scottish 
officers. The Academy at Woolwich was not then 


1736-43: AGE, 14-21. 












I WAS witness to a very extraordinary scene that 
happened in the month of February or March 1736, 
which was the escape of Eobertson, a condemned 
criminal, from the Tolbooth Church in Edinburorh. 
In those days it was usual to bring the criminals who 
were condemned to death into that church, to attend 
public woi-ship every Sunday after their condemna- 
tion, when the clergyman made some part of his 
discourse and prayers to suit their situation ; which, 
among other circumstances of solemnity which then 
attended the state of condemned criminals, had no 
small effect on the public mind. Robertson and 



Wilson were smugglers, and had been condemned for 
robbing a custom-house, where some of their goods 
had been deposited ; a crime which at that time did 
not seem, in the opinion of the common people, to 
deserve so severe a punishment. I was carried by an 
acquaintance to church to see the prisoners on the 
Sunday before the day of execution. We went early 
into the church on purpose to see them come in, and 
were seated in a pew before the gallery in front of the 
pulpit. Soon after we went into the church by the 
door from the Parliament Close, the criminals were 
brought in by the door next the Tolbooth, and placed 
in a long pew, not far from the pulpit. Four soldiers 
came in with them, and placed Robertson at the head 
of the pew, and Wilson below him, two of themselves 
sitting below Wilson, and two in a pew behind him. 

The bells were ringing and the doors were open, 
while the people were coming into the church. Ro- 
bertson watched his opportunity, and, suddenly spring- 
ing up, got over the pew into the passage that led in 
to the door in the Parliament Close, and, no person 
ojffering to lay hands on him, made his escape in a 
moment — so much the more easily, perhaps, as every- 
body's attention was drawn to Wilson, who was a 
stronger man, and who, attempting to follow Robert- 
son, was seized by the soldiers, and struggled so loug 
with them that the two who at last followed Robert- 
son were too late. It was reported that he had main- 
tained his struggle that he might let his companion 
have time. That might be his second thought, but 


liis first certainly was to escape himself, for I saw him 
set his foot on the seat to leap over, when the soldiers 
pulled him back. Wilson was immediately carried 
out to the Tolbooth, and Eobertson, getting unin- 
terrupted through the Parliament Square, down the 
back stairs, into the Cowgate, was heard of no more 
till he arrived in Holland. This was an interesting 
scene, and by filling the public mind with compassion 
for the unhappy person who did not escape, and who 
was the better character of the two, hud probably 
some influence in producing what followed : for 
when the sentence against Wilson came to be executed 
a few weeks thereafter, a very strong opinion pre- 
vailed that there was a plot to force the Town Guard, 
whose duty it is to attend executions under the order 
of a civil magistrate. 

There was a Captain Porteous, who by his good 
behaviour in the army had obtained a subaltern's 
commission, and had afterwards, when on half-pay, 
been preferred to the command of the City Guard, 
This man, by his skill in manly exercises, particularly 
the golf, and by gentlemanly behaviour, was admitted 
into the company of his superiors, which elated his 
mind, and added insolence to his native roughness, so 
that he was much hated and feared by the mob of 
Edinburgh. When the day of execution came, the 
rumour of a deforcement at the gallows prevailed 
strongly ; and the Provost and Magistrates (not in 
their own minds very strong) thought it a good mea- 
sure to apply for three or four companies of a march- 


ing regiment that lay in the Canongate, to be drawn 
up in the liawnmarket, a street leading from the 
Tolbooth to the Grassmarket, the place of execution, 
in order to overawe the mob by their being at hand. 
Porteous, who, it is said, had his natural courage in- 
creased to rage by any suspicion that he and his Guard 
could not execute the law, and beino; heated likewise 
with wine — for he had dined, as the custom then was, 
between one and two — became perfectly furious when 
he passed by the three companies drawn up in the 
street as he marched along with his prisoner. 

Mr Baillie had taken windows in a house on the 
north side of the Grassmarket, for his pupils and me, 
in the second floor, about seventy or eighty yards 
westward of the place of execution, where w^e went in 
due time to see the show ; to which I had no small 
aversion, having seen one at Dumfries, the execution 
of Jock Johnstone, which shocked me very much.* 
When we arrived at the house, some people who were 
looking from the windows were displaced, and went 
to a window in the common stair, about two feet 
below the level of ours. The street is long and wide, 
and there was a very great crowd assembled. The 
execution went on with the usual forms, and Wilson 
behaved in a manner very Ijecoming his situation. 
There was not the least appearance of an attempt to 
rescue ; but soon after the executioner had done his 
duty, there was an attack made upon him, as usual 
on such occasions, by the boys and blackguards 

* See above, p. 22, note. 


throwing stones and dirt in testimony of their abhor- 
rence of the hangman. But there was no attempt to 
break through the guard and cut down the prisoner. 
It was generally said that there was very little, if any, 
more violence than had usually happened on such 
occasions. Porteous, however, inflamed with wine 
and jealousy, thought proper to order his Guard to 
fire, their muskets being loaded with slugs ; and 
when the soldiers showed reluctance, I saw him turn 
to them with threatenincr oesture and an inflamed 
countenance. They obeyed, and fired ; but wishing to 
do as little harm as possible, many of them elevated 
their pieces, the efiect of which was that some people 
were wounded in the windows ; and one unfortunate 
lad, whom we had displaced, was killed in the stair 
window by a slug entering his head. His name was 
Henry Black, a journeyman tailor, whose bride was the 
daughter of the house we were in. She fainted away 
when he was brought into the house speechless, where 
he only lived till nine or ten o'clock. We had seen 
many people, women and men, fall on the street, and 
at first thought it was only through fear, and by their 
crowding on one another to escape. But when the 
crowd dispersed, we saw them lying dead or wounded, 
and had no longer any doubt of what had happened. 
The numbers were said to be eight or nine killed, and 
double the number wounded ; but this was never 
exactly known. 

This unprovoked slaughter irritated the common 
people to the last ; and the state of grief and rage 


into which their minds were thrown, was visible in 
the high commotion that appeared in the multitude. 
Our tutor was very anxious to have us all safe in our 
lodgings, but durst not venture out to see if it was 
practicable to go home. I offered to go ; w^ent, and 
soon returned, offering to conduct them safe to our 
lodgings, which were only half-way down the Lawn- 
market, by what w^as called the Castle Wynd, which 
was just at hand, to the westward. There we re- 
mained safely, and were not allowed to stir out any 
more that night till about nine o'clock, when, the 
streets having long been quiet, we all grew anxious 
to learn the fate of Henry Black, and I was allowed 
to go back to the house. I took the younger Maxwell 
with me, and found that he had expired an hour be- 
fore we arrived. A single slug had penetrated the 
side of his head an inch above the ear. The sequel 
of this affair was, that Porteous was tried and con- 
demned to be hanged ; but by the intercession of 
some of the Judges themselves, who thought his case 
hard, he was reprieved by the Queen-Regent. The 
Magistrates, who on this occasion, as on the former, 
acted weakly, designed to have removed him to the 
Castle for greater security. But a plot w^as laid and 
conducted by some persons unknown with the great- 
est secrecy, policy, and vigour, to prevent that design, 
by forcing the prison the night before, and executing 
the sentence upon him themselves, which to effectuate 
cost them from eight at night till two in the morning ; 
and yet this plot was managed so dexterously that 


they met with no iutemiption, though there were 
five companies of a marching regiment lying in the 

This happened on the 7th of September 1736; 
and so prepossessed were the minds of every person 
that something extraordinary would take place that 
day, that I, at Prestonpans, nine miles from Edinburgh, 
dreamt that I saw Captain Porteous hanged in the 
Grassmarket. I got up betwixt six and seven, and 
went to my father's servant, who was thrashing in 
the bam which lay on the roadside leading to Aber- 
lady and North Berwick, who said that several men 
on horseback had passed about five in the morning, 
whom having asked for news, they replied there was 
none, but that Captain Porteous had been dragged 
out of prison, and hanged on a dyer's tree at two 
o'clock that mornincr. 

This bold and lawless deed not only provoked the 
Queen, who was Eegent at the time, but gave some 
uneasiness to Government. It was represented as a 
dangerous plot, and was ignorantly connected with a 
great meeting of zealous Covenanters, of whom many 
still remained in Galloway and the west, which had 
been held in summer, in Pentland Hills, to renew the 
Covenant. But this was a mistake ; for the murder 
of Porteous had been planned and executed by a few 
of the relations or friends of those whom he had 
slain ; who. being of a rank superior to mere mob, 
had carried on their design with so much secrecy, 
abilitv, and steadiness as made it be ascribed to a 


still higher order, who were political enemies to Gov- 
ernment. Tliis idea provoked Lord Isla, who then 
managed the affairs of Scotland under Sir Robert 
Walpole, to carry through an Act of Parliament in 
next session for the discovery of the murderers of 
Captain Porteous, to be published by reading it for 
twelve months, every Sunday forenoon, in all the 
churches in Scotland, immediately after divine service, 
or rather in the middle of it, for the minister was or- 
dained to read it between the lecture and the sermon, 
two discourses usually given at that time. This 
clause, it was said, was intended to purge the Church 
of fanatics, for as it was believed that most clergymen 
of that description would not read the Act, they 
would become liable to the penalty, which was depo- 
sition. By good-luck for the clergy, there was an- 
other party distinction among them (besides that 
occasioned by their ecclesiastical differences), viz., 
that of Argathelian and Squadrone, of wJiich po- 
litical divisions there were some both of the hio;]i- 
flying and moderate clergy.* Some very sensible 
men of the latter class having discovered the design 
of the Act, either by information or sagacity, convened 

* The term " Argathelian " is new to the Editor, but the meaning is 
obvious. "Argathelia" is the Latin name of the province of Argyle, and 
the word doubtless ai)plied to those who favoured that unlimited influence 
in the affairs of Scotland exercised by the family of Argyle liefore the 
ascendancy of Lord Bute. The name of " Squadi'one" had been long used to 
designate a public party professing entire independence. The " ecclesias- 
tical differences " concentrated themselves in a disjnite, of memorable im- 
portance to the Chm-ch of Scotland, called " The Marrow Controversy," 
from one party standing by, and the other impiigning, Fisher's Mairow of 
Modern Divinity. — Ed. 


meetings of clergy at Edinburgh, and formed resolu- 
tions, and carried on correspondence tlirough the 
Church to persuade as many as possible to disobey 
the Act, that the great number of offenders might 
secure the safety of the whole. This was actually the 
case, for as one-half of the clergy, at least, disobeyed 
in one shape or other, the idea of inflicting the 
penalty was dropt altogether. In the mean time, the 
distress and perplexity which this Act occasioned in 
many families of the clergy, was of itself a cruel 
punishment for a crime in which they had no hand. 
The anxious days and sleepless nights which it occa- 
sioned to such ministers as had families, and at the 
same time scruples about the lawfulness of reading 
the Act, were such as no one could imagine who had 
not witnessed the scene. 

The part my grandfather took was manly and 
decided ; for, not thinking the reading of the Act 
unlawful, he pointedly obeyed. My father was very 
scrupulous, being influenced by Mr Erskine of Grange, 
and other enemies of Sir Robert Walpole. On the 
other hand, the good sense of his wife, and the con- 
sideration of eight or nine children whom he then 
had, and who were in dansjer of beinor turned out on 
the world, pulled him very hard on the side of obe- 
dience. A letter from my grandfather at last settled 
his mind, and he read the x\ct. 

What seemed extraordinary, after all the anxiety 
of Grovernment, and the violent means they took to 
make a discovery, not one of those murderers was 


ever found. Twenty years afterwards, two or three 
persons returned from different parts of the world, 
who were supposed to be of the number ; but, so far 
as I heard, they never disclosed themselves. 

In my second year at the College, November 1736, 
besides attending M'Laurin's class for mathematics, 
and Kerr's private class, in which he read Juvenal, 
Tacitus, &c., and opened up the beauties and peculiar- 
ities of the Latin tongue, I went to the Logic class, 
taught by Mr John Stevenson, who, though he had 
no pretensions to superiority in point of learning and 
genius, yet was the most popular of all the Professors 
on account of his civility and even kindness to his 
students, and at the same time the most useful ; for 
being a man of sense and industry, he had made a 
judicious selection from the French and English 
critics, which he gave at the morning hour of eight, 
when he read with us Aristotle's Poetics and Longinus 
On the Sublime. At eleven he read Ileineccius' Logic, 
and an abridgement of Locke's Essay ; and in the 
afternoon at two — for such were the hours of attend- 
ance in those times — he read to us a compendious 
history of the ancient philosophers, and an account of 
their tenets. On all these branches we were carefully 
examined at least three times a-week. Whether or 
not it was owing to the time of life at which we 
entered this class, being all about fifteen years of age 
or upwards, when the mind begins to open, or to the 
excellence of the lectures and the nature of some of 
the subjects, we could not then say, but all of us 


received the same impression — viz., that our minds 
were more enlarged, and that we received greater 
benefit from that class than from any other. With a 
due regard to the merit of the Professor, I must 
ascribe this impression chiefly to the natural ejQfect 
which the subject of criticism and of rational logic 
has upon the opening mind. Having learned Greek 
pretty well at school, my father thought fit to make 
me pass that class, especially as it was taught at that 
time by an old sickly man, who could seldom attend, 
and employed substitutes. 

This separated me from some of my companions, 
and brought me acquainted with new ones. Sun- 
dry of my class-fellows remained another year with 
Kerr, and Sir Gilbert Elliott, John Home, and many 
others, went back to him that year. It was this year 
that I attended the French master, one Kerr, who, for 
leave given him to teach in a College room, taught 
his scholars the whole session for a guinea, which w^as 
then all that the regents could demand for a session 
of the College, from the 1st of November to the Ist of 
June. During that course we were made sufiiciently 
masters of French to be able to read any book. To 
improve our pronunciation, he made us get one of 
Moliere's plays by heart, which we were to have 
acted, but never did. It was the Medecin malyre 
lui, in which 1 had the part of Sganarelle. 

- Besides the young gentlemen who had resided with 
us in the former year, there came into the lodging 
below two Irish students of medicine, whose names 


were Conway and Lesly, who were perfectly well-bred 
and agreeable, and with whom, though a year or two 
older, I was very intimate. They were among the 
first Irish students whom the fame of the first Monro 
and the other medical Professors had brought over ; 
and they were not disappointed. They were sober 
and studious, as well as well-bred, and had none of 
that restless and turbulent disposition, dignified with 
the name of spirit and fire, which has often since 
made the youth of that country such troublesome 
members of society. Mr Lesly Avas a clergyman's 
son, of Scottish extraction, and was acknowledged as 
a distant relation by some of the Eglintoun family. 
Conway's relations were all beyond the Channel. I 
was so much their favourite both this year and the 
following, when they returned, and lived so much 
with them, that they had very nearly persuaded me 
to be of their profession. At this time the medical 
school of Edinburgh was but rising into fame. There 
were not so many as twenty English and Irish 
students this year in the College. The Professors 
were men of eminence. Besides Monro, Professor of 
Anatomy, there were Dr Sinclair,* 

I was in use of going to my father's on Saturdays 
once a-fortnight, and returning on Monday ; but this 
little journey was less frequently performed this 
winter, as Sir Harry Nisbet's mother. Lady Nisbet, a 
sister of Sir Eobert Morton's, very frequently invited 
me to accompany her son and the Maxwells to the 

* Sic. He seems to liave intended to add other names.— Ed. 

rrvOFESSOES and compaxions. 45 

house of Dean, within a mile of Edinburgh, where we 
passed the day in hunting with the greyhounds, and 
generally returned to town in the evening. Here I 
had an opportunity of seeing a new set of company 
(my circle having been very limited in Edinburgh), 
whose manners were more worthy of imitation, and 
whose conversation had more the tone of the world. 
Here I frequently met with Mr Baron Dalrymple, the 
youngest brother of the then Earl of Stair, and grand- 
father of the present Earl. He was held to be a man of 
wit and humour ; and, in the language and manners of 
the gentlemen of Scotland before the Union, exhibited 
a specimen of conversation that was so free as to 
border a little on licentiousness, especially before the 
ladies ; but he never failed to keep the table in a roar. 

Having passed the Greek class, I missed many of 
my most intimate companions, who either remained 
one year longer at the Latin class, or attended the 
Greek. But I made n6w ones, who were very agree- 
able, such as Sir Alexander Cockburn of Langton, who 
had been bred in England till now, and John Gibson, 
the son of Sir Alexander Gibson of Addison, both of 
whom perished in the war that was approaching. 

In summer 1737 I was at Prestonpans ; and in 
July, two or three days before my youngest sister 
Jenny was born, afterwards Mrs Bell, I met with an 
accident which confined me many weeks, which was a 
shot in my leg, occasioned by the virole of a ramrod 
having fallen into a musket at a review in Mussel- 
burgh Links, part of which lodged in the outside of 


the calf of my leg, and could not be extracted till after 
the place had been twice laid open, when it came out 
Avith a dressing, and was about the size of the head of 
a nail. This was the reason why I made no excursion 
to Dumfriesshire this summer. 

Early in the summer I lost one of the dearest friends 
I ever had, who died of a fever. We had often settled 
it between us, that whoever should die first, should 
appear to the other, and tell him the secrets of the 
invisible world. I walked every evening for hours in 
the fields and links of Prestonpans, in hopes of meet- 
ing my friend ; but he never appeared. This disap- 
pointment, together with the knowledge I had acquired 
at the Logic class, cured me of many prejudices about 
ghosts and hobgoblins and witches, of which till that 
time I stood not a little in awe. 

The next session of the College, beginning in No- 
vember 1737, I lodged in the same house and had the 
same companions as I had the two preceding years. 
Besides Sir Robert Stewart's Natural Philosophy class, 
which was very ill taught, as he was worn out with 
age, and never had excelled, I attended M'Laurin's 
second class, and Dr Pringle's Moral Philosophy, be- 
sides two hours at the writing-master to improve my 
hand, and a second attendance on JNIr Kerr's private 
class. The circle of my acquaintance was but little 
enlarged, and I derived more agreeable amusement 
from the two Irish students, who returned to their 
former habitation, than from any other acquaintance, 
except the Maxwells and their friends. My acquaint- 


ance with Dr Kobertson began about this time. I 
never was at the same class with him, for, though but 
a few months older, he was at College one session before 
me. One of the years, too, he was seized with a fever, 
which was dangerous, and confined him for the greater 
part of the winter. I went to see him sometimes when 
he was recoverinij, when in his conversation one could 
perceive the opening dawn of that day which after- 
wards shone so bright. I became also acquainted with 
John Home this year, though he was one year behind 
me at College, and eight months younger. He was gay 
and talkative, and a great favourite with his com- 

I was very fond of dancing, in which 1 was a great 
proficient, having been taught at two different periods 
in the country, though the manners were then so strict 
that I was not allowed to exercise my talent at penny- 
weddings, or any balls but those of the dancing-school. 
Even this would have been denied me, as it was to 
Robertson and Witherspoon, and other clergymen's 
sons, at that time, had it not been for the persuasion 
of those aunts of mine who had been bred in England, 
and for some papers in the Spectator which were 
pointed out to my father, which seemed to convince 
him that dancing would make me a more accomplished 
preacher, if ever I had the honour to mount the pulpit. 
]^Iy mother too, who generally was right, used her 
sway in this article of education. But I had not the 
means of using this talent, of which I was not a little 
vain, till luckily I was introduced to Madame Yiolante, 


an Italian stage-dancer, who kept a mucli-frequented 
school for young ladies, but admitted of no boys above 
seven or eight years of age, so that she wished very 
much for senior lads to dance with her grown-up 
misses weekly at her practisings. I became a favourite 
of this dancing-mistress, and attended her very faith- 
fully with two or three of my companions, and had 
my choice of partners on all occasions, insomuch that 
I became a great proficient in this branch at little or 
no expense. It must be confessed, however, that, hav- 
ing nothing to do at Stewart's class, through the in- 
capacity of the master, and M'Laurin's giving me no 
trouble, as I had a great promptitude in learning 
mathematics, I had a good deal of spare time this 
session, which I spent, as well as all the money I got, 
at a billiard-table, w^hich unluckily was within fifty 
yards of the College. I was so sensible of the folly 
of this, however, that next year I abandoned it alto- 

Dr Pringle, afterwards Sir John, was an agreeable 
lecturer, though no great master of the science he 
taught.* His lectures were chiefly a compilation from 
Lord Bacon's works ; and had it not been for Puffen- 
dorf's small book, which he made his text, we should 
not have been instructed in the rudiments of the 
science. Once a-week, however, he gave us a lecture 
in Latin, in which language he excelled, and was even 
held equal to Dr John Sinclair, Professor of the Theory 

* Afterwards well known in scientific society in London, where he became 
President of the Royal Society. — Ed. 


of Medicine, the most eminent Latin scliolar at that 
time, except the great grammarian Ruddiman. The 
celebrated Dr Hutchison of Glasgow, who was the first 
that distinguished himself in that important branch 
of literature, was now beginning his career, and had 
drawn ample stores from the ancients, which he im- 
proved into system, and embellished by the exertions 
of an ardent and virtuous mind. He was soon followed 
by Smith, who had been his scholar, and sat for some 
years in his chair ; by Ferguson at Edinburgh ; by Keid 
and Beattie, which last was more an orator than a 
philosopher ; together with David Hume, whose works, 
thouoh dangerous and heretical, illustrated the science, 
and called forth the exertions of men of equal genius 
and sounder principles. 

I passed the greater part of this summer (1738) at 
my grandfather's, at Tinwald, near Dumfries, who had 
a tolerably good collection of books, and where I read 
for many hours in the day. I contracted the greatest 
respect for my grandfather, and attachment to his 
family ; and became well acquainted with the young 
people of Dumfries, and afterwards held a correspond- 
ence by letters with one of them, which was of use 
in forming my epistolary style. 

A new family came this year to Prestonpans ; for 
Colin Campbell, Esq., the brother of Sir James of 
Arbruchal, had fallen in arrears as Collector of the 
Customs, and was suspended. But his wife dying at 
that very time, an excellent woman of the family of 
Sir James Holburn, and leaving him eight or nine 



cliilclren, his situation drew compassion from his friends, 
especially from Archibald, Earl of Isla, and James 
Campbell of St Germains, who were his securities, and 
who had no chance of being reimbursed the sum of 
£800 or £1000 of arrears into which he had fallen, 
but by his preferment. He was soon made a Commis- 
sioner of the Board of Customs, an oflfice at that time of 
£1000 per annum. This deprived us of a very agree- 
able family, the sons and daughters of which were my 
companions. Mr Campbell was succeeded by Mr 
George Cheap, of the Cheaps of Rossie in Fife, whose 
wife, an aunt of the Lord Chancellor Wedderburn, 
had just died and left a family of eight children, two 
of them beautiful girls of sixteen or eighteen, and six 
sons, the eldest of whom was a year older than I, but 
was an apprentice to a Writer to the Signet in Edin- 
burgh. This family, though less sociable than the 
former, soon became intimate with ours ; and one of 
them very early made an impression on me, which 
had lasting effects. 

In November 1738 I ao;ain attended the College of 
Edinburgh ; and, besides a second year of the Moral 
Philosophy, I was a third year at M'Laurin's class, 
who, on account of the advanced age and incapacity 
of Sir Robert Stewart, not only taught Astronomy, 
but gave us a course of experiments in Mechanics, with 
many excellent lectures in Natural Philosophy, which 
fully compensated the defects of the other class. About 
this time the choice of a profession became absolutely 
necessary. I had thoughts of the army and the law, 


but was persuaded to desist from any views on them 
by my father's being unable to carry on my educa- 
tion for the length of time necessary in the one, or to 
support me till he could procure a commission for me, 
as he had no money to purchase ; and by means of 
the long peace, the establishment of the army was low. 
Both these having failed, by the persuasion of Lesly 
and Conway, my Irish friends, I thought of surgery, 
and had prevailed so far that my father went to Edin- 
burgh in the autumn to look out for a master in that 

In the mean time came a letter from my grandfather, 
in favour of his own profession and that of my father, 
written with so much force and energy, and stating 
so many reasons for my yielding to the wish of my 
friends and the conveniency of a family stiU consisting 
of eight children, of whom I was the eldest, that I 
yielded to the influence of parental wishes and advice, 
which in those days swayed the minds of young men 
much more than they do now, or have done for many 
years past. I therefore consented that my name 

* I tlrew up with them [Leslie and Conway], and they had almost induced 
me to be a doctor, had not the dissection of a child, which they bought of a 
poor tailor for 6s., disgusted me completely. The man had asked 6s. 6<l., 
but they beat him down the 6tL by asserting that the bargain was to him 
worth more than 12*., as it saved him all the exjiense of burial. The hearing 
of this bargain, together with that of the dialogue in which they carrietl it on, 
were not less grating to my feelings than the dissection itself. Before that 
I had lieen captivated by the sight of a handsome comet of the Greys, and 
would neetls be a soldier ; but my father having no money to purchase a 
commission for me, and not being able, he said, to spare as much money per 
day as would make me live like a gentleman, although Colonel Gardiner 
said he would recommend me for a cadet in a very good regiment, I desiste«l 
from this also. — Recollections, 


should this year be enrolled in the list of students of 
divinity, though regular attendance was not enjoined. 

On the 13th of January 1739, there was a total 
eclipse of the moon, to view which M'Laurin invited 
his senior scholars, of whom I was one. About a dozen 
of us remained till near one o'clock on the Sunday 
morning, when the greatest tempest arose that I re- 
member. Eight or ten of us were so much alarmed with 
the fall of bricks or slates in the College Wynd, that 
we called a council of war in a stair-foot, and got to 
the High Street safe by walking in file down the 
Cowgate and up Niddry's Wynd. 

I passed most of the summer this year in Dumfries- 
shire, where my grandfather kept me pretty close to 
my studies, though I frequently walked in the after- 
noons to Dumfries, and brought him the newspapers 
from Provost Bell, his son-in-law, w^ho had by that 
time acquired the chief sway in the burgh, having 
taken the side of the Duke of Queensberry, in oppo- 
sition to Charles Erskine of Tinwald, at that time the 
Solicitor. George Bell was not a man of ability, but 
he was successful in trade, was popular in his man- 
ners, and, having a gentlemanly spirit, was a favourite 
with the nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood. 
He had a constant correspondence with the Duke of 
Queensberry, and retained his friendship till his death 
in 1757. What Bell wanted in capacity or judgment 
was fully compensated by his wife, Margaret Bobison, 
the second of my mother's sisters, and afterwards still 
more by my sister Margaret, whom they reared, as 


they liad no children, and who, when she grew up, 
added beauty and address to a very uncommon un- 
derstanding. During the period when I so much 
frequented Dumfries, there was a very agreeable so- 
ciety in that town. They were not numerous, but 
the few were better informed, and more agreeable in 
society, than any to be met with in so small a town. 

I returned home before winter, but did not attend 
the College, though I was enrolled a student of divi- 
nity. But my father had promised to Lord Drum- 
more, his great friend, that I should pass most of my 
time with his eldest son, ^Ir Hew H. Dalrymple, who, 
not liking' to live in Edinburgh, was to pass the 
winter m the house of Walliford. adjacent to his estate 
of Drummore, where he had only a farmhouse at that 
time, with two rooms on a ground-floor, which would 
have ill agreed with Mr Hew's health, which was 
threatened with symptoms of consumption, the dis- 
ease of which, he died five or six years afterwards, 
havinof been married, but leavinor no issue. 

Mr Hew H. Dalr}Tnple had been intended for the 
Church of England, and with that view had been 
educated at Oxford, and was an accomplished scholar ; 
but his elder brother John having died at Naples, he 
fell heir to his mother's estate. He was five or six 
years older than I, and being frank and communica- 
tive, I received much benefit from his conversation, 
which was iustructive, and his manners, which were 
elegant. With this gentleman I lived all winter, 
retiurning generally to my father's house on Saturdays, 


when Lord Driimmore returned from Edinburgli, and 
went back again on Monday, when I resumed my 
station. We passed great part of the day in Novem- 
ber and December planting trees round the enclosures 
at Drummore, which, by their appearance at present, 
prove that they were not well chosen, for they are 
very small of their age ; but they were too old when 
they were planted. After the frost set in about 
Christmas, we passed our days very much in following 
the greyhounds on foot or on horseback, and though 
our evenings were generally solitary, between reading 
and talking we never tired. Mr Hew's manners were 
as gentle as his mind was enlightened. We had' little 
intercourse with the neighbours, except with my 
father's family, with Mr Cheap's (the Collector), where 
there were two beautiful girls, and with Mr Keith, 
afterwards ambassador, whose wife's sister was the 
widow of Sir Robert Dalrymple, brother of Lord 
Drummore. They were twins, and so like each other, 
that even when I saw them first, when they were at 
least thirty, it was hardly possible to distinguish 
them. In their youth, their lovers, I have heard them 
say, always mistook them when a sign or watchword 
had not been agreed on. Mr Keith was a very agree- 
able man, had much knowledge of modern history 
and genealogy, and, being a pleasing talker, made an 
agreeable companion. Of him and his intimate friend, 
Mr Hepburn of Keith, it was said that the witty Lady 
Dick (Lord Royston's daughter) said that Mr Keith 
told her nothing but what she knew^ before, though in 


a very agreeable manner, but that Hepburn never 
said anything that was not new to her, — thus marking 
the difference between genius and ability. Keith was 
a minion of the great Mareschal Stair, and went 
abroad with him in 1 743, when he got the command 
of the army. But I observed that Lord Stair's par- 
tiality to Keith made him no great favourite of the 
Dalrymples. Colonel Gardiner had been another 
minion of Lord Stair, but being illiterate, and con- 
sidered as a fanatic, the gentleman I mention had no 
intimacy with him, though they admitted that he was 
a very honest and well-meaning brave man. 

My father had sometimes expressed a wish that I 
should allow myself to be recommended to take charge 
of a pupil, as that was the most likely way to obtain 
a church in Scotland ; but he did not press me on 
this subject, for as he had been four years in that 
station himself, though he was very fortunate in his 
pupils, he felt how degrading it was. By that time I 
had been acquainted with a few preceptors, had ob- 
served how they were treated, and had contracted an 
abhorrence of the employment — insomuch that, when 
I consented to follow out the clerical profession, it 
was on condition I should never be urged to go into 
a family, as it was called, engaging at the same time 
to make my expenses as moderate as possible. 

This was the winter of the hard frost which com- 
menced in the end of December 1739, and lasted for 
three months. As there were no canals or rivers of 
extent enough in this part of the country to encourage 


the fine exercise of skating, we contented ourselves 
with the winter diversion of curling, which is peculiar 
to Scotland, and became tolerable proficients in that 
manly exercise. It is the more interesting, as it is 
usual for the young men of adjacent parishes to con- 
tend against each other for a whole winter's day, 
and at the end of it to dine together with much 

I passed the summer of this year, as usual, in the 
neighbourhood of Dumfries, and kept up my con- 
nection with the young people of that town as I 
had done formerly. I returned home in the autumn, 
and passed some part of the winter in Edinburgh, 
attending the divinity class, which had no attrac- 
tions, as the Professor, though said to be learned, 
was dull and tedious in his lectures, insomuch that 
at the end of seven years he had only lectured half 
through Pictet's Compend of Theology. I became 
acquainted, however, with several students, with 
whom I had not been intimate, such as Dr Hugh 
Blair, and the Bannatines, and Dr Jardine, all my 
seniors ; Dr John Blair, afterwards Prebendary of 
Westminster ; John Home, William Robertson, George 
Logan, William Wilkie, &c. There was one advan- 
tage attending the lectures of a dull professor — viz., 
that he could form no school, and the students were 
left entirely to themselves, and naturally formed 
opinions far more liberal than those they got from 
the Professor. This was the answer I gave to Patrick 
Lord Elibank, one of the most learned and ingenious 


noblemen of his time, when he asked me one day, 
many years afterwards, what could be the reason that 
the young clergymen of that period so far surpassed 
their predecessors of his early days in useful accom- 
plishments and liberality of mind — \dz., that the 
Professor of Theology was dull, and Dutch, and prolix. 
His lordship said he perfectly understood me, and 
that this entirely accounted for the change. 

In summer 1741 I remained for the most part at 
home, and it was about that time that my old school- 
master, Mr Hannan, having died of fever, and Mr 
John Halket having come in his place, I was witness 
to a scene that made a strong impression upon me. 
This Mr Halket had been tutor to Lord Lovat's eldest 
son Simon, afterwards well known as General Fraser. 
Halket had remained for two years with Lovat, and 
knew all his ways. But he had parted with him on 
his cominor to Edinburorh for the education of that 
son, to whom he gave a tutor of a superior order, Mr 
Hugh Blair, afterwards the celebrated Doctor. But 
he still retained so much reg-ard for Halket that he 
thought proper to fix his second son, Alexander 
Fraser, with him at the school of Prestonpans, believ- 
ing that he was a much more proper hand for training 
an untutored savage than the mild and elesrant Dr 
Blair. It was in the course of this summer that 
Lovat brought his son Alexander to be placed with. 
Halket, from whom, understanding that I was a young 
scholar livino- in the town who might be usefid to his 
son, he ordered Halket to invite me to dine with him 


and his company at Lucky Yint's, a celebrated vil- 
lage tavern in the west end of the town. 

His company consisted of Mr Erskine of Grange, 
with three or four gentlemen of the name of Fraser, 
one of whom was his man of business, together with 
Halket, his son Alexander, and myself. The two old 
gentlemen disputed for some time which of them 
should say grace. At last Lovat yielded, and gave 
us two or three pious sentences in French, which Mr 
Erskine and I understood, and we only. As soon as 
we were set, Lovat asked me to send him a whiting 
from the dish of fish that was next me. As they 
were all haddocks, I answered that they were not 
whitings, but, according to the proverb, he that got a 
haddock for a whiting was not ill off. This saying 
takes its rise from the superiority of haddocks to whit- 
ings in the Firth of Forth. Upon this his lordship 
stormed and swore more than fifty dragoons ; he w^as 
sure they must be whitings, as he had bespoke them. 
Halket tipped me the wink, and I retracted, saying 
that I had but little skill, and as his lordship had 
bespoke them, I must certainly be mistaken. Upon 
this he calmed, and I sent him one, which he was 
quite pleased with, swearing again that he never could 
eat a haddock all his life. The landlady told me 
afterwards that as he had been very peremptory 
against haddocks, and she had no other, she had made 
her cook carefully scrape out St Peter's mark on the 
shoulders, which she had often done before with suc- 
cess. We had a very good plain dinner. As the 


claret was excellent, and circulated fast, tlie two old 
gentlemen grew very merry, and tlieir conversation 
became youthful and gay. What I observed was, that 
Grange, without appearing to flatter, was very obser- 
vant of Lovat, and did everything to please him. He 
had provided Geordy Sym, who was Lord Drum- 
raore's piper, to entertain Lovat after dinner ; but 
though he was reckoned the best piper in the country, 
Lovat despised him, and said he was only fit to play 
reels to Grange's oyster-women. He grew frisky at 
last, however, and upon Kate Yint, the landlady's 
daughter, coming into the room, he insisted on her 
staying to dance with him. She was a handsome 
girl, with fine black eyes and an agreeable person ; 
and tliouo;h without the advantages of dress or man- 
ners, she, by means of her good sense and a bashful 
air, was verv alluring:. She was a mistress of Lord 
Drummore, who lived in the neighbourhood; and 
though her mother would not part with her, as she 
drew much company to the house, she was said to be 
faithful to him ; except only in the case of Captain 
Merry, who married her, and soon after went abroad 
with his regiment. When he died she enjoyed the 
pension. She had two sons by Drummore and one 
by Merry. One of the first was a pretty lad and a 
good officer, for he was a master and commander 
before he died. Lovat was at this time seventy-five, 
and Grange not much younger ; yet the wine and 
the yoimg woman emboldened them to dance a reel, 
till Kate, observing Lo vat's legs as thick as posts, fell 


a-laughing, and ran oflf. She missed lier second 
course of kisses, as was then the fashion of the coun- 
try, though she had endured the first. This was a 
scene not easily forgotten. 

Lovat was tall and stately, and might have been 
handsome in his youth, with a very flat nose. His 
manner was not disagreeable, though his address con- 
sisted chiefly in gross flattery and in the due appli- 
cation of money. He did not make on me the im- 
pression of a man of a leading mind. His suppleness 
and profligacy were apparent. The convivium was 
not over, though the evening approached. He con- 
veyed his son to the house were he was to be boarded, 
for Halket had not taken up house ; and there, while 
we drank tea, he won the heart of the landlady, a 
decent widow of a shipmaster, and of her niece, by 
fair speeches, intermixed with kisses to the niece, who 
was about thirty, and such advices as a man in a 
state of ebriety could give. The coach was in waiting, 
but Grange would not yet part with him, and insisted 
on his accepting of a banquet from him at his house 
in Preston. Lovat was in a yielding humour, and it 
was agreed to. The Frasers, who were on horseback, 
were sent to Edinburgh, the boy was left with his 
dame, and Lovat and Grange, and Halket and I, went 
up to Preston, only a quarter of a mile distant, and 
were received in Grange's library, a cube of twenty 
feet, in a pavilion of the house which extended into a 
small wilderness of not more than half an acre, which 
was sacred to Grange's private walks, and to which 


there was no entry but through the pavilion. This 
wilderness was said to be his place of retreat from his 
lady when she was in her fits of termagancy, which 
were not unfrequent, and were said by his minions to 
be devoted to meditation and prayer. But as there 
was a secret door to the fields, it was reported that he 
had occasionally admitted fair maidens to solace him 
for his sufiering-s from the clamour of his ^-ife. This 
room had been well stored with books from top to 
bottom, but at this time was much thinned, there 
remaining only a large collection of books on dsemo- 
nologia, which was Grange's particular study. In this 
room there was a fine collection of fruit and biscuits, 
and a new deluo-e of excellent claret. At ten o'clock 
the two old gentlemen mounted their coach to Edin- 
burgh, and thus closed a very memorable day. 

In the following winter — viz., November 1741 — I 
attended the Divinity Hall at Edinburgh again for 
three or four months, and delivered a discourse, De 
Fide Salvifica, a very improper subject for so young 
a student, which attracted no attention from any one 
but the Professor, who was pleased with it, as it re- 
sembled his own Dutch Latin. 

The summer 1742 I passed at home, making only 
a few excursions into East Lothian, where I had 
sundry companions. My father, ever attentive to 
what he thought was best for me, and desirous to 
ease himself as much as possible from the expense of 
my education, availed himself of my mother's being a 
relation of the Hon. Basil Hamilton — for their mothers 


were cousins — and applied to the Duke of Hamilton 
for one of the bursaries given by Duchess Ann of 
that family in the former century to students in 
divinity to pass two winters in Glasgow College, and 
a third in some foreign university, the salary for 
the first two years, £100 Scots annually, and for the 
third, £400 ; which might have been competent as 
far back as 1670, but was very far short of the most 
moderate expense at which a student could live in 
1742/"' But I was pleased with this plan, as it opened 
a prospect of going abroad. The presentation was 
obtained, and my father and I set out on horseback 
for Glasgow in the beginning of November, and ar- 
rived there next forenoon, having stayed all night at 
Mr Dundas's of Castle Gary, on the old Eoman wall. 
My father immediately repaired to the College to con- 
sult with an old friend of his, Mr Dick, Professor of 
Natural Philosophy, how he was to proceed with his 
presentation. I was surprised to see him return after 
in a great flurry, Mr Dick having assured him that 
there was no vacant bursary, nor would be till next 
year. The next object was how to secure it, in which 
we were both much interested — my father, to prevent 
my deviating into some other employment ; and I, for 
fear I should have been forced to become tutor to 
some young gentleman, a situation which, as I then 
observed it, had become an object of my abhorrence. 
Several of my companions had the same turn of mind ; 
for neither Kobertson, nor John Home, nor George 

* A himdred poiincls Scots are equivalent to £8, 6.s. 8d. sterling. — Ed. 



Loojan were ever tutors. We thouo-lit we had ob- 
served that all tutors had contracted a certain obse- 
quiousness or bassesse, which alarmed us for ourselves. 
A little experience corrected this prejudice, for I knew 
many afterwards who had passed through that sta- 
tion, and yet had retained a manly independency 
both in mind and manner. 

After a hasty dinner, we took our horses by four 
in the afternoon, and riding all night by the nearest 
road, which was as bad as possible, we arrived in 
Edinburgh by eight in the morning. My father 
dressed himself, and went down to the Abbey, where, 
to his great joy, he found that Duke Hamilton was 
not set out for London, as he was afraid he might 
have been, and obtained a promise that the presenta- 
tion should be renewed next year. 

In compensation for this disappointment, I passed 
the greatest part of this winter at my grandfather's, at 
Tinwald, where I read for many hours of the day, and 
generally took the weekly amusement of passing one 
day and night at Dumfries, where I met with agree- 
able society, both male and female. 

I returned to Edinburgh in March, and attended 
the Divinity Hall for a few weeks. Living at Edin- 
burgh continued still to be wonderfully cheap, as there 
were ordinaries for young gentlemeo, at fourpence 
a-head for a very good diuner of broth and beef, and 
a roast and potatoes every day, with fish three or four 
times a- week, and all the small-beer that was called 
for till the cloth was removed. In the summer I 


passed some time in East Lothian, where by accident 
at that period there were no less than a dozen young 
scholars, preachers, and students in divinity, who gene- 
rally met there on the presbytery day. For two or 
three times we dined with the presbytery by invi- 
tation ; but finding that we w^ere not very welcome 
guests, and that whatever number there were in com- 
pany they never allowed them more than two bottles 
of small Lisbon wine, we bespoke a dinner for our- 
selves in another tavern ; and when the days were 
short, generally stayed all night. By this time even 
the second tavern in Haddington (where the presby- 
tery dined, having quarrelled with the first) had knives 
and forks for their table. But ten or twelve years be- 
fore that time, my father used to carry a shagreen case, 
with a knife and fork and spoon, as they perhaps do 
still on many parts of the Continent. When I at- 
tended, in 1742 and 1743, they had still but one glass 
on the table, which went round with the bottle. 

Very early in the afternoon, Mr Stedman, a minis- 
ter in the town, and one or two more of the clergy- 
men, used to resort to our company, and keep up 
an enlightened conversation till bedtime. The chief 
subjects were the deistical controversy and moral phi- 
losophy, as connected with theology. Besides Sted- 
man, Murray and Glen almost always attended us.* 

John Witherspoon was of this party, he who was 

* Mr Edward Stedman was second minister of Haddington, and a man 
of very superior understanding. He it was who first directed Dr Kobeiison 
how to obtain his leading in the Church, and who was the friend and sup- 


afterwards a member of the American Congress, and 
Adam Dickson, who afterwards wrote so well on Hus- 
bandry. They were both clergymen's sons, but of 
very different characters ; the one open, frank, and 
generous, pretending only to what he was, and sup- 
porting his title with spirit ; the other close, and 
suspicious, and jealous, and always aspiring at a supe- 
riority that he was not able to maintain. I used some- 
times to go with him for a day or two to his father's 
house at Gifford Hall, where we passed the day in fish- 
ing, to be out of reach of his father, who was very sulky 
and tyrannical, but who, being much given to glut- 
tony, fell asleep early, and went always to bed at nine, 
and, being as fat as a porpoise, was not to be awaked, 
so that we had three or four hours of liberty every 
niorht to amuse ourselves with the daug-hters of the 
family, and their cousins who resorted to us from the 
village, when the old man was gone to rest. This John 
loved of all things ; and this sort of company he en- 
joyed in greater perfection when he returned my visits, 
when we had still more companions of the fair sex, 
and no restraint from an austere father ; so that I 
always considered the austerity of manners and aver- 
sion to social joy which he affected afterwards, as the 
arts of hypocrisy and ambition ; for he had a strong 

porter of John Jlome, when he was in danger of being deposed for writing 
the tragetly of Douglas. It was Stedman who, with the aid of Hugh 
BannatjTie, then minister of Dirleton, and Robertson, conducted the affairs 
of the presbyterj' of Haddington in such a manner that they were never 
able to reach John Home, till it was convenient for him to resign his 



and enlightened understanding, far above enthusiasm, 
and a temper that did not seem liable to it.'^ 

It was this summer that my father received from 
Mr Keith (afterwards ambassador) a letter, desiring 
that I might be sent over to him immediately. He 
had been sent for b}^ Lord Stair, and went to Ger- 
many with him as his private secretary. This was 
after the battle of Dettingen. But I knew nothing 
of it for some years, otherwise I might probably have 
broke through my father's plan. When Lord Stair 
lost the command of the army, Mr Keith lived with 
him at London, and had a guinea a-day conferred on 
him, till he was sent to Holland in 1746 or 1747 as 
Resident. His knowledge of modern history, and of 
all the treaties, &c., made him be valued. 

* Thomas Hepbiim, a distinguished minister, who died minister of 
Athelstaneford, and was bom and bred in the neighbom"hood, used to 
allege that a Dr Nisbet of Montrose, a man of some learning and ability, 
which he used to disjilay with little judgment in the Assembly, was Wither- 
spoon's son, and that he was supjwrted in this opinion by the scandalous 
chronicle of the country. Tlieir features, no doubt, had a strong resem- 
blance, but their persons were unlike, neither were their tempers at all 
similar. Any likeness there was between them in their sentiments and 
public api^earances might be accounted for by the great admiration the 
junior must have had for the senior, as he was bred up mider his eye, in 
the same parish, in which he was much admired. Whether or not lie 
was his son, he followed his exami)le, for he became discontented, and 
migrated to America during the Rebellion, where he was Principal of 
Carlisle CoUege, Pennsylvania, for which he was well qualified in point of 
learning. But no preferment nor climate can cnre a discontented mind, for 
he became miserable at one time because lie coidd not return. 


174S-1745 : AGE, 21-23. 
















In November 1 743 I went to Glasgow, much more 
opportunely than I should have done the preceding 
year, for the old Professor of Divinity, Mr Potter, 
who had been a very short while there, died in the 
week I went to College ; and his chair, being in the 
gift of the University, was immediately filled b^ ]\Ir 
William Leechman, a neighbouring clergyman, a per- 
son thoroughly well qualified for the ofiice, of which 

68 GLASGOW IN 1743. 

he gave the most satisfactory proof for a great many 
years that he continued Professor of Theology, which 
was till the death of Principal Neil Campbell raised 
him to the head of the University. He was a distin- 
guished preacher, and was followed when he was occa- 
sionally in Edinburgh. His appearance was that of 
an ascetic, reduced by fasting and prayer ; but in aid 
of fine composition, he delivered liis sermons with such 
fervent spirit, and in so persuasive a manner, as cap- 
tivated every audience,* This was so much the case 
that his admirers regretted that he should be with- 
drawn from the pulpit, for the Professor of Theology 
has no charge in Glasgow, and preaches only occasion- 
ally. It was much for the good of the Church, how- 
ever, that he was raised to a station of more extensive 
usefulness ; for while his interesting manner drew the 
steady attention of the students, the judicious choice 
and arrangement of his matter formed the most in- 
structive set of lectures on theology that had, it was 
thought, ever been delivered in Scotland. It was, no 
doubt, owing to him, and his friend and colleague Mr 
Hutcheson, Professor of Moral Philosophy, that a better 
taste and greater liberality of sentiment were intro- 
duced among the clergy in the western provinces of 

Able as this gentleman was, however, and highly 
unexceptionable not only in morals but in decorum of 

* A portrait of Leechman, from a painting by W. Millar, very character- 
istic, and in harmony with tliis desciijition, is prefixed to an edition of his 
Sermons: London, 2 vols. 8vo, 1789. — Ed. 

GLASGOW IN 1743. 69 

behaviour, he was not allowed to ascend his chair 
without much opposition, and even a prosecution for 
heresy. Invulnerable as he seemed to be, the keen 
and prying eye of fanaticism discovered a weak place, 
to which they directed their attacks. There had been 
published at Glasgow, or in the neighbourhood of Dr 
Leechman's church, in the country, before he came to 
Glasgow, about that period, a small pamphlet against 
the use of prayer, which had circulated amongst the 
inferior ranks, and had made no small impression, 
being artfully composed. To counteract this poison 
Leechman had composed and published his sermon 
on the nature, reasonableness, and advantages of 
prayer ; with an attempt to answer the objections 
against it, from Matthew, xxvi. 41. In this sermon, 
though admirably well composed, in defence of prayer 
as a duty of natural religion, the author had forgot, 
or omitted to state, the obligations on Christians to 
pray in the name of Christ. The nature of his subject 
did not lead him to state this part of a Christian's 
prayer, and perhaps he thought that the inserting 
anything relative to that point might disgust or lessen 
the curiosity of those for whose conviction he had 
published the sermon. The fanatical or high-flying 
clergy in the presbytery of Glasgow took advantage 
of this omission, and instituted an inquiry into the 
heresy contained in this sermon by omission, which 
lasted with much theological acrimony on the part 
of the inquirers (who were chiefly those who had 
encouraged Cambuslang's work, as it was called, two 


years before), till it was finally settled in favour of the 
Professor by the General Assembly 1 744.* Instead of 
raising any anxiety among the students in theology, 
or creating any suspicion of Dr Leechman's orthodoxy, 
this fit of zeal against him tended much to spread 
and establish his superior character. 

I attended Hutcheson's class this year with great 
satisfaction and improvement. He was a good-looking 
man, of an engaging countenance. He delivered his 
lectures without notes, walking backwards and for- 
wards in the area of his room. As his elocution was 
good, and his voice and manner pleasing, he raised 
the attention of his hearers at all times ; and when 
the subject led Lim to explain and enforce the moral 
virtues and duties, he displayed a fervent and per- 
suasive eloquence which was irresistible. Besides the 
lectures he gave through the week, he, every Sunday 
at six o'clock, opened his class-room to whoever chose 
to attend, when he delivered a set of lectures on 
Grotius de veritate Religionis Christiance, which, 
though learned and ingenious, were adapted to every 
capacity ; for on that evening he expected to be 
attended, not only by students, but by many of the 
people of the city ; and he was not disappointed, for 
this free lecture always drew crowds of attendants. 

Besides Hutcheson and Leechman, there were at that 

* CaniLudamJ s Work : Rev-ivals in the Parish of Cambuslang in Lanark- 
sliire in the year 1742. They were the occasion of abundant controversy ; 
but the fullest account of them will be foimd in Narrative of the extra- 
ordinaru Work of the Spirit of God at Cambmlang, Kilsytli, <kc., written by 
Mr James Robe and others. — Ei>. 


period several eminent professors in that university ; 
particularly ^Ir Eobert Simson, the great mathema- 
tician, and Mr Alexander Dunlop, the Professor of 
Greek. The last, besides his eminence as a Greek 
scholar, was distinguished by his strong good sense 
and capacity for business ; and being a man of a lead- 
ing mind, was supposed, with the aid of Hutcheson, 
to direct and manage all the affairs of the University 
(for it is a wealthy corporation, and has much busi- 
ness), besides the charge of presiding over literature, 
and maintaining the discipline of the College. 

One difference I remarked between this University 
and that of Edinburgh, where I had been bred, which 
was, that although at that time there appeared to be a 
marked superiority in the best scholars and most dili- 
gent students of Edinburgh, yet in Glasgow, learning 
seemed to be an object of more importance, and the 
habit of application was much more general. Besides 
the instruction I received from Di-s Hutcheson and 
Leechman, I derived much pleasure, as well as enlarge- 
ment of skill in the Greek language, from Mr Dunlop's 
translations and criticisms of the great tragic writers 
in that language. I likewise attended the Professor 
of Hebrew, a Mr ^lorthland, who was master of his 
business. I had neglected that branch in Edinburgh, 
the professor being then superannuated. 

In the second week I was in Glassow I went to the 
dancing assembly with some of my new acquaintance, 
and was there introduced to a married lady who 
claimed kindred vdih me, her mother's name being 


Carlyle, of the Limekiln family. She carried me home 
to sup with her that night, with a brother of hers, 
two years younger than me, and some other young 
people. This was the commencement of an intimate 
friendship that lasted during the whole of the lady's 
life, which was four or five and twenty years. She 
was connected with all the best families in Glasgow 
and the country round. Her husband was a good sort 
of man, and very opulent ; and as they had no chil- 
dren, he took pleasure in her exercising a genteel 
hospitality. I became acquainted with all the best 
families in the town by this lady's means ; and by a 
letter I had procured from my friend James Edgar, 
afterwards a Commissioner of the Customs, I also soon 
became well acquainted with all the young ladies who 
lived in the College. He had studied law the preced- 
ing year at Glasgow, under Professor Hercules Lind- 
say, at that time of some note. On asking him for a 
letter of introduction to some one of his companions, 
he gave me one to Miss Mally Campbell, the daughter 
of the Principal ; and when I seemed surprised at 
his choice, he added that I would find her not only 
more beautiful than any woman there, but more 
sensible and friendly than all the professors put to- 
gether, and much more useful to me. This I found to 
be literally true. 

The city of Glasgow at this time, though very in- 
dustrious, wealthy, and commercial, was far inferior 
to what it afterwards became, both before and after 
the failure of the Virginia trade. The modes of life. 


too, and manners, were different from what they are 
at present. Their chief branches were the tobacco 
trade with the American colonies, and sugar and rum 
with the West India. There were not manufacturers 
sufficient, either there or at Paisley, to supply an out- 
ward-bound cargo for Virginia. For this purpose they 
were obliged to have recourse to Manchester. Manu- 
factures were in tlieir infancy. About this time the 
inkle manufactory was first begun by Ingram & Glas- 
ford, and was shown to strangers as a great curiosity. 
But the merchants had industiy and stock, and the 
habits of business, and were ready to seize with eager- 
ness, and prosecute with vigour, every new object in 
commerce or manufactures that promised success. 

Few of them could be called leai-ned merchants ; 
yet there was a weekly club, of which a Provost Coch- 
rane was the founder and a leading member, in which 
their express design was to inquire into the nature and 
principles of trade in all its branches, and to communi- 
cate their knowledge and views on that subject to each 
other. I was not acquainted with Provost CochraDe 
at this time, but I observed that the members of this 
society had the highest admiration of his knowledge 
and talents. I became well acquainted with him 
twenty years afterwards, when Drs Smith and Wight 
were members of the club, and was made sensible that 
too much could not be said of his accurate and exten- 
sive knowledge, of his agreeable manners, and collo- 
quial eloquence. Dr Smith acknowledged his obliga- 
tions to this gentleman's information, when he was 


collecting materials for his Wealth of Nations ; and 
tlie junior merchants who have flourished since his 
time, and extended their commerce far beyond what 
was then dreamt of, confess, with respectful remem- 
brance, that it was Andrew Cochrane who first opened 
and enlarged their views.* 

It was not long before I was well established in close 
intimacy with many of my fellow-students, and soon 
felt the superiority of an education in the College of 
Edinburgh ; not in point of knowledge, or acquire- 
ments in the languages or sciences, but in know- 
ledge of the world, and a certain manner and ad- 
dress that can only be attained in the capital. It 
must be confessed that at this time they were far 
behind in Glasgow, not only in their manner of living, 
but in those accomplishments and that taste that be- 
long to people of opulence, much more to persons of 
education. There were only a few families of ancient 
citizens who pretended to be gentlemen ; and a few 
others, who were recent settlers there, who had ob- 
tained wealth and consideration in trade. The rest 
were shopkeepers and mechanics, or successful pedlars, 
who occupied large warerooms full of manufactures of 
all sorts, to furnish a cargo to Virginia. It was usual 
for the sons of merchants to attend the College for one 
or two years, and a few of them completed their 
academical education. In this respect the females 
were still worse off, for at that period there was 

* For information regarding Coclirane, Simson, and the other Glasgow 
celebrities mentioned in this chapter, the reader is refciTcd to Glasgoio and 
its Clubs, by Dr Strang, and to the Cochrane Correspondence, i)rintcd in 1836 
for the Maitland Club.— Ed. 


neither a teacher of French nor of music in the town. 
The consequence of this was twofold ; first, the young 
ladies were entirely without accomplishments, and in 
general had nothing to recommend them but good 
looks and fine clothes, for their manners were un- 
gainly. Secondly, the few who were distinguished 
drew all the young men of sense and taste about them ; 
for, being void of frivolous accomplishments, which in 
some respects make all women equal, they trusted 
only to superior understanding and wit, to natural 
elegance and unaffected manners. 

There never was but one concert during the two 
winters I was at Glasgow, and that was given by 
Walter Scott, Esq. of Harden, who was himself an 
eminent performer on the violin ; and his band of 
assistants consisted of two dancing-school fiddlers 
and the town- waits. 

The manner of living, too, at this time, was but 
coarse and vulgar. Yeiy few of the wealthiest gave 
dinners to anybody but English ridere, or their own 
relations at Christmas holidays. There were not half- 
a-dozen families in town who had men-servants ; some 
of those were kept by the professors who had boarders. 
There were neither post-chaises nor hackney-coaches 
in the town, and only three or four sedan-chairs for 
carrying midwives about in the night, and old ladies to 
church, or to the dancing assemblies once a-fortnight. 

The principal merchants, fatigued with the morn- 
ing's business, took an early dinner with their families 
at home, and then resorted to the coffeehouse or tavern 
to read the newspapers, which they generally did in 


companies of four or five in separate rooms, over a 
bottle of claret or a bowl of puncb. But tbey never 
staid supper, but always went home by nine o'clock, 
without company or further amusement. At last an 
arch fellow from Dublin, a IVIr Cockaine, came to be 
master of the chief coffeehouse, who seduced them 
gradually to stay supper by placing a few nice cold 
things at first on the table, as relishers to the wine, 
till he gradually led them on to bespeak fine hot sup- 
pers, and to remain till midnight. 

There was an order of women at that time in Glas- 
gow, who, being either young widows not wealthy, or 
young women unprovided for, were set up in small 
grocery-shops in various parts of the town, and gene- 
rally were protected and countenanced by some credi- 
table merchant. In their back shops much time and 
money were consumed ; for it being customary then 
to drink drams and white wine in the forenoon, the 
tipplers resorted much to those shops, where there were 
bedrooms ; and the patron, with his friends, frequently 
passed the evening there also, as taverns were not fre- 
quented by persons who affected characters of strict 

I was admitted a member of two clubs, one entirely 
literary, which was held in the porter's lodge at the 
College, and where w^e criticised books and wrote 
abridgements of them, with critical essays ; and to 
this society \<^e submitted the discourses which we 
were to deliver in the Divinity Hall in our turns, when 
we were appointed by the professor. The other club 


met in i\Ir Dugald's tavern near the Cross, weekly, 
and admitted a mixture of young gentlemen, who 
were not intended for the study of theology. There 
met there John Bradefoot, afterwards minister of Dun- 
sire ; James Leslie, of Kilmarnock ; John Robertson, 
of Dunblane ; James Hamilton, of Paisley ; and Ro- 
bert Lawson, of London Wall. There also came some 
young merchants, such as Robin Bogle, my relation ; 
James and George Anderson, William Sellers and 
Robin Craig. Here we drank a little punch after our 
beefsteaks and pancakes, and the expense never ex- 
ceeded Is. 6d., seldom Is. 

Our conversation was almost entirely literar}'- ; and 
we were of such good fame, that some ministers of the 
neighbourhood, when occasionally in Glasgow, fre- 
quented our club. Hyndman had been twice intro- 
duced by members ; and being at that time passing 
his trials as a probationer before that presbytery in 
which his native town of Greenock lay, he had become 
well acquainted with Mr Robert Baton, minister of 
Renfrew, who, though a man well accomplished and of 
liberal sentiments, was too much a man of worth and 
principle not to be offended by licentious manners in 
students of divinity. Hyndman, by way of gaining 
favour with this man, took occasion to hint to him 
to advise his nephew, Robert Lawson, not to fre- 
quent our club, as it admitted and encouraged conver- 
sation not suitable to the profession we were to follow. 
He mentioned two instances, one of which Lawson said 
was false, and the other disguised by exaggeration. 


Lawson, who was a lad of pure morals, told me this ; 
and as the best antidote to this injurious impression, 
which had been made chiefly against me, I begged him 
to let his uncle know that I would accept of the in- 
vitation he had given through him, to pass a night or 
two with him at Renfrew. We accordingly went next 
Saturday, and met with a gracious reception, and staid 
all next day and heard him preach, at which he was 
thought to excel (though he was almost the only person 
who read in those days, in which he truly excelled) ; 
and being a very handsome man, his delivery much 
enhanced the value of his composition. We heard him 
read another sermon at night in his study, with much 
satisfaction, as he told us it was one of his best, and 
was a good model ; to this we respectfully assented, 
and the good man was pleased. When we took leave 
on Monday morning, he politely requested another 
visit, and said to me, with a smile, he was now forti- 
fied against tale-bearers. These societies contributed 
much to our improvement ; and as moderation and 
early hours were inviolable rules of both institutions, 
they served to open and enlarge our minds. 

Towards the end of the session, however, I was 
introduced to a club w^hich gave me much more sat- 
isfaction — I mean that of Mr Robert Simson, the cele- 
brated Professor of Mathematics. Mr Robert Dick, 
Professor of Natural Philosophy, an old friend of my 
father's, one evening after I had dined with him, said 
he was going to Mr Robert's club, and if I had a 
mind, he would take me there and introduce me. I 


readily accepted the honour. I had been introduced 
to Mr Robert before in the College court, for he was 
extremely courteous, and showed civility to every 
student who fell in his way. Though I was not at- 
tending any of his classes, having attended M'Laurin 
in Edinburgh for three sessions, he received me with 
great kindness ; and I had the good fortune to please 
him so much, that he asked me to be a member of 
his Friday's club, which I readily agreed to. Mr 
Simson, though a great humorist, who had a very 
particular way of living, was well-bred and com- 
plaisant, was a comely man, of a good size, and had 
a very prepossessing countenance. He lived entirely 
at the small tavern opposite the College gate, kept by 
a Mrs ^Millar. He breakfasted, dined, and supped 
there, and almost never accepted of any invitations 
to dinner, and paid no visits, but to illustrious or 
learned strangers, who wished to see the University ; 
on such occasions he was always the cicerone. He 
showed the curiosities of the College, which consisted 
of a few manuscripts and a large collection of Roman 
antiquities, from Severus' Wall or Graham's Dyke, in 
the neighbourhood, with a display of much knowledge 
and taste. He was particularly averse to the com- 
pany of ladieSj and, except one day in the year, when 
he drank tea at Principal Campbell's, and conversed 
with gaiety and ease with his daughter Mally, who 
was always his first toast, he was never in company 
with them. It was said to have been otherwise with 
him in his youth, and that he had been much attached 


to one lady, to whom he had made proposals, but on 
her refusing him he became disgusted with the sex. 
The lady was dead before I became acquainted with 
the family, but her husband I knew, and must confess 
that in her choice the lady had preferred a satyr to 

Mr Simson almost never left the bounds of the 
College, having a large garden to walk in, unless it 
was on Saturday, when, with two chosen companions, 
he always walked into the country, but no farther 
than the village of Anderston, one mile off, where he 
had a dinner bespoke, and where he always treated 
the company, not only when he had no other than his 
two humble attendants, but when he casually added 
one or two more, which happened twice to myself. 
If any of the club met him on Saturday night at his 
hotel, he took it very kind, for he was in good spirits, 
though fatigued with the company of his satellites, 
and revived on the sight of a fresh companion or two 
for the evening. He was of a mild temper and an 
engaging demeanour, and was master of all know- 
ledge, even of theology, which he told us he had 
learned by being one year amanuensis to his uncle, 
the Professor of Divinity. His knowledge he de- 
livered in an easy colloquial style, with the simplicity 
of a child, and without the least symptom of self- 
sufficiency or arrogance. 

His club at that time consisted chiefly of Hercules 
Lindsay, Teacher of Law, who was talkative and 
assuming ; of James Moore, Professor of Greek on 


the death of ^Ir Dunlop, a very lively and witty man, 
and a famous Grecian, but a more famous punster ; 
Mr Dick, Professor of Natural Philosophy, a very 
worthy man, and of an agreeable temper ; and ]Mr 
James Purdie, the rector of the grammar-school, who 
had not much to recommend him but his being an 
adept in grammar. Having been asked to see a 
famous comet that appeared this winter or the fol- 
lowing, through Professor Dick's telescope, which was 
the best in the College at that time, when Mr Purdie 
retired from takinor his view of it, he turned to Mr 
Simson, and said, " ^Ir Robert, I believe it is hie or 
hcec cometa, a comet." To settle the gender of the 
Latin was all he thought of this great and uncommon 
phenomenon of nature. 

Mr Simson's most constant attendant, however, 
and greatest favourite, was his own scholar, Mr 
Mathew Stewart, afterwards Professor of Mathematics 
in the Colleo;e of Edinburo;h, much celebrated for his 
profound knowledge in that science. Dui'ing the 
course of summer he was ordained minister of Rose- 
neath, but resided during the winter in Glasgow Col- 
lege. He was of an amiable disposition and of a 
most ingenuous mind, and was highly valued in the 
society of Glasgow University ; but when he was 
preferred to a chair in Edinburgh, being of diminu- 
tive stature and of an ordinary appearance, and 
having withal an embarrassed elocution, he was not 
able to bring himself into good company ; and being 
left out of the society of those who shoidd have seen 



through, the shell, and put a due value on the kernel, 
he fell into company of an inferior sort, and adopted 
their habits with too great facility. 

With this club, and an accidental stranger at 
times, the great Mr Robert Simson relaxed his mind 
every evening from the severe studies of the day ; for 
though there was properly but one club night in the 
week, yet, as he never failed to be there, some one or 
two commonly attended him, or at least one of the 
two minions whom he could command at any time, as 
he paid their reckoning. 

The fame of Mr Hutcheson had filled the College 
with students of philosophy, and Leechman's high 
character brought all the students of divinity from 
the western provinces, as Hutcheson attracted the 
Irish. There were sundry young gentlemen from 
Ireland, with their tutors, one of whom was Archibald 
M'Laine, pastor at the Hague, the celebrated trans- 
lator of Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History (who had 
himself been bred at Glasgow College). With him 
I became better acquainted next session, and I have 
often regretted since that it has never been my lot 
to meet him during the many times I have been for 
months in London, as his enlightened mind, engaging 
manners, and animated conversation, gave reason to 
hope for excellent fruit when he arrived at maturity. 
There were of young men of fashion attending the 
College, Walter Lord Blantyre, who died young ; Sir 

Kennedy, and his brother David, afterwards 

Lord Cassilis ; Walter Scott of Harden ; James 


ISIurray of Brougliton ; and Dunbar Hamilton, after- 
wards Earl of Selkirk. The education of this last 
gentleman had been marred at an English academy 
in Yorkshire. "When his father, the Hon. Basil Hamil- 
ton, died, he came to Glasgow, but finding that he 
was so ill founded in Latin as to be unfit to attend 
a public class, he had resolution enough, at the age 
of fifteen, to pass seven or eight hours a-day with 
Purdie the grammarian for the greater part of two 
years, when, having acquired Latin, he took James 
Moore, the Greek scholar, for his private tutor, 
fitted up rooms for himself in the College, and lived 
there with Moore in the most retired manner, visiting 
nobody but Miss ^L Campbell, and letting nobody in 
to him but Lord Blantyre and myself, as I was his 
distant relation. In this manner he lived for ten 
years, hardly leaving the College for a few weeks in 
summer, till he had acquired the ancient tongues in 
perfection, and was master of ancient philosophy: 
the effect of which was, that with much rectitude and 
good intention, and some talent, he came into the 
world more fit to be a Professor than an Earl. 

There was one advantage I derived from my Edin- 
l)urgh education, which set me up a little in the eyes 
of my equals, though I soon tired of the employment. 
Professor Leechman devoted one evening every week 
from five to eight to conversation with his students, 
who assembled on Fridays about six or seven together, 
and were first received in the Professor's own library. 
But Dr Leechman was not able to carry on common 


conversation, and when he spoke at all, it was a short 
lecture. This was therefore a very dull meeting, and 
everybody longed to be called in to tea with Mrs 
Leechman, whose talent being different from that of 
her husband, she was able to maintain a continued 
conversation on plays, novels, poetry, and the fashions. 
The rest of the lads being for the most part raw and 
awkward, after trying it once in their turns, they be- 
came silent, and the dialogue rested between the lady 
and me. When she observed this, she requested me 
to attend as her assistant every night. I did so for a 
little while, but it became too intolerable not to be 
soon given up. 

What Dr Leechman wanted in the talent for con- 
versation was fully compensated by his ability as a 
Professor, for in the chair he shone with great lustre. 
It was owing to Hutcheson and him that a new school 
was formed in the western provinces of Scotland, where 
the clergy till that period were narrow and bigoted, 
and had never ventured to range in their mind beyond 
the bounds of strict orthodoxy. For though neither 
of these professors taught any heresy, yet they opened 
and enlarged the minds of the students, which soon 
gave them a turn for free inquiry ; the result of which 
was, candour and liberality of sentiment. From ex- 
perience, this freedom of thought was not found so 
dangerous as might at first be apprehended ; for though 
the daring youth made excursions into the unbounded 
regions of metaphysical perplexity, yet all the judicious 
soon returned to the lower sphere of long-established 
trutlis, which they found not only more subservient to 


the good order of society, but necessary to fix their 
own minds in some degree of stability. 

Hutcheson was a great admirer of Shaftesbury, and 
adopted much of his writings into his lectures; and, to 
recommend him more to his students, was at great 
pains in private to prove that the noble moralist was 
no enemy to the Christian religion ; but that all ap- 
pearances of that kind, which are very numerous in 
his works, flowed only from an excess of generous 
indignation against the fanatics of Charles I.'s reign. 
Leechman and he both were supposed to lean to 
Socinianism. Men of sense, however, soon perceived 
that it was an arduous task to defend Christianity on 
that ground, and w^ere glad to adopt more common 
and vulgar principles, which were well compacted 
together in a uniform system, which it was not easy 
to demolish. 

Leechman's manner of teaching theology was excel- 
lent, and I found my sphere of knowledge in that 
science greatly enlarged, though I had attended the 
Professor in Edinburgh pretty closely for two or three 
years ; but he copied the Dutch divines, and, had he 
lived, would have taken twenty years to have gone 
through the system which Dr Leechman accomplished 
in two years, besides giving us admirable lectures on 
the Gospels, on the proofs of Christianity, and the art 
of composition. If there was any defect, it was in the 
small number of exercises prescribed to the students, 
for one discourse in a session was by no means suffi- 
cient to produce a habit of composition : our literaiy 
clubs, in some degree, supplied that defect. 


I had been called home to Prestoupans in January 
to see my brother James, who was then dying of a 
consumption ; he was in his nineteenth year, and died 
in March. He had been sent to London several years 
before to be bred to business, but an accident threw 
him into bad health, and he had been at home for two 
years or more. He was not a lad of parts, but remark- 
ably handsome and agreeable. I found him perfectly 
reconciled to a premature death. 

I had left my original companions at Edinburgh, 
who had every kind of merit to create attachment ; 
but I found a few in Glasgow University who in some 
degree supplied their places, who were worthy and 
able young men, and afterwards filled their ranks 
in society with credit, though they had neither the 
strength nor the polish of the Blairs, and Eobertsons, 
and Fergusons, and Homes. Near the end of the ses- 
sion I made an acquaintance with a young gentleman, 
which next year grew into the strictest friendship. 
This was William Sellar, then an apprentice in his 
third or fourth year with the Oswalds, at that time 
among the most eminent merchants in Glasgow. He 
was the son of a Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, 
had been two or three years at the College there, was 
handsome and well - bred, and of very agreeable 
manners. Though not learned, he had a philosophical 
and observing mind, and was shrewd in discerning 
characters. This young man, my junior by a year or 
two, attached himself to me on our first acquaintance, 
and I soon repaid him with my affection, for I found 


that the qualities of his heart were not inferior to 
those of his imderstanding. He was daily conversant 
with the principal merchants, as I was with the stu- 
dents and members of the University, on whom our 
observations were a great source of instructive enter- 
tainment. He had the celebrated Jenny Fall (after- 
wards Lady Anstnither), a coquette and a beauty, for 
months together in the house with him ; and as his 
person and manner drew the marked attention of the 
ladies, he derived considerable improvement from the 
constant intercourse with this young lady and her 
companions, for she was lively and clever, no less than 
beautiful. He had also the benefit of Mr Eichard 
Oswald's conversation, a man afterwards so much cele- 
brated as to be employed by Government in settling 
the peace of Paris in 1788. This gentleman was 
much confined to the house by sore eyes, and yet was 
able to pass his time almost entirely in reading, and 
becoming a very learned and intelligent merchant ; 
and having acquired some thousand pounds by being 
prize agent to his cousins, whose privateer had taken 
a prize worth £15,000, he a few years after this period 
established himself in London, and acquired a great 
fortune, which, having no children of his o^-n, he left 
to the grandson of his brother, a respectable clergy- 
man of the Church of Scotland ; and thus founded 
that family of Oswalds, who continue to flourish in 
the shire of Ayr. 

I lived this winter in the same house with Dr Robert 
Hamilton, Professor of Anatomv, an ingenious and 


well-bred man ; but with him I had little intercourse, 
except at breakfast now and then, for he always dined 
abroad. He had a younger brother, a student of 
divinity, afterwards his father's successor at Bothwell, 
who was vain and showy, but who exposed himself 
very much through a desire of distinction. He was a 
relation of ]\Irs Leechman's, and it had been hinted to 
him that the Professor expected a remarkable discourse 
from him. He accordingly delivered one which gave 
universal satisfaction, and was much extolled by the 
Professor. But, very unfortunately for Hamilton, half- 
a-dozen of students, in going down a street, resorted 
to a bookseller's shop, where one of them, taking a 
volume from a shelf, was struck, on opening the book, 
to find the first sermon from the text he had just 
heard preached upon. He read on, and found it was 
verbatim from beginning to end what he had heard in 
the hall. He showed it to his companions, who laughed 
heartily, and spread the story all over the town before 
night — not soon enough to prevent the vainglorious 
orator from circulating two fine copies of it, one 
among the ladies in the College, and another in the 
town. What aggravated the folly and imprudence of 
this young man was, that he was by no means defi- 
cient in parts, of which he gave us sundry specimens. 
His cousin and namesake, James Hamilton, afterwards 
minister of Paisley, was much ashamed of him, and 
being a much more sterling man, was able to keep 
down his vanity ever after. He had submitted his 
manuscript to the club, and two or three criticisms 


had been made on it, but he would alter nothing. 
After Dr Robert Hamilton's death, which was prema- 
ture, a younger brother succeeded him in the anatomi- 
cal chair, who was very able. He dying young also, 
his son was advanced, who was said to have surpassed 
all his predecessors in ability. They were descended 
from the family of Hamiltons of Preston, a very 
ancient branch of Duke Hamilton's family. 

Dr Johnstone, who was said to be very able, was at 
this time Professor of ^ledicine, but he was very old, 
and died this year ; and was succeeded by Dr William 
CiiUen, who had been settled at Hamilton. In those 
days there were but few students of physic in Glasgow 
University. Dr Cullen, and his successor Dr Black, 
with the younger Hamiltons, brought the school of 
medicine more into repute there. 

In the month of March or April this year, having 
gone down with a merchant to visit New Port-Glas- 
gow, as our dinner was preparing at the inn, we were 
alarmed with the howling and weeping of half-a-dozen 
of women in the kitchen, which was so loud and last- 
ing that I went to see what was the matter, when, 
after some time, I learnt from the calmest amons: them 
that a pedlar had left a copy of Peden's Prophecies 
that morning, which having read part of, they found 
that he had predicted woes of every kind to the people 
of Scotland ; and in particular that Clyde would run 
with blood in the year 1744, which now being some 
montlis advanced, they believed that their destruction 
was at hand. I was puzzled how to pacify them, but 


calling for the book, I found that the passage which 
had terrified them was contained in the forty-fourth 
paragraph, without any allusion whatever to the year ; 
and by this means I quieted their lamentations. Had 
the intended expedition of Mareschal Saxe been car- 
ried into execution in that year, as was intended, their 
fears might have been realised. 

Though the theological lectures closed in the be- 
ginning of May, on account of some accidental circum- 
stances, I did not get to my father's till the middle of 
that month. My father's wish was, that I should pass 
through my trials to be admitted a probationer in 
summer 1745, and leave nothing undone but the 
finishing forms, when I returned in 1746 from a 
foreign Protestant university, where I was bound to 
go by the terms of the exhibition I held. I was 
therefore to spend a part of this summer, 1744, in 
visiting the clergy of the presbytery of Haddington, 
as the forms required that I should perform that duty 
before I was admitted to trials. 

I made my tour accordingly early in summer, and 
shall give a short specimen of my reception and the 
characters I met with. I first passed 'a day at Aber- 
lady, where Mr Andrew Dickson was then minister, 
the father of Adam Dickson, the author of many 
excellent works on agriculture. Mr Dickson was a 
well-bred formal old man, and was reckoned a good 
preacher, though lame enough in the article of know- 
ledge, or indeed in discernment. Among the first 
questions he put to me was, " Had I read the fiimous 


■p&m^hlet, Christianity not founded on Argument?" 
I answered that I had. He replied that certainly 
that elaborate work was the ablest defence of our holy 
religion that had been published in our times ; and 
that the author of it, who was unknown to him, de- 
served tlie highest praise. I looked surprised, and 
was going to make him an answer according to my 
opinion, which was that it was the shrewdest attack 
that ever had been made on Christianity. But his 
son observed me, and broke in by saying that he had 
had some disputes with his father on the subject, but 
now yielded, and had come in to his opinion : I only 
subjoined, that whoever saw it in that light must 
subscribe to its superiority. The old gentleman was 
pleased, and went on descanting on the great merit 
of this new proof of revealed religion, which was quite 
unanswerable. Having settled that point, there was 
no danger of my differing from him in any other of 
his notions. 

Next day I proceeded to Dirleton, the neighbouring 
parish, where Mr James Glen was the incumbent. 
This was a man of middle age, fat and unwieldy, 
good-natured and open-hearted, very social, though 
quick-tempered and jealous. He was a great master 
of the Deistical controversy, had read all the books, 
and never stopped, for it was his first topic with me, 
till he completely refuted Christianity not founded 
on Argument, which he said was truly very insidious. 
There was not much time, however, this day for 
theology, as it happened to be his cherry feast. There 


being many fine trees of that fruit in his garden, when 
they were fully ripe it was his custom to invite some 
of his neighbours and their families to pass the day 
with him and his daughters, and the only son then 
at home, Mr Alexander Glen, who was a student, and 
two years my junior. We were a very large company, 
among whom were Congalton of that Ilk, a very sin- 
gular gentleman, of very good parts, and extremely 
promising when he passed advocate, but who had 
become a drunken laird, though the brilliancy of his 
wit frequently broke through the cloud. There were 
likewise four Miss Hepburns of Beanston, who were 
young, handsome, and gay. The old people dispersed 
not long after dinner, and went their several ways ; 
Congalton and his swaggering blades went to the 
village changehouse, and remained there all night. 
There net being lodging in the house for us all, the 
young men remained as late as they could in the 
parlour, and then had mattresses brought in to sleep 
a while upon. 

When I wished to depart next day with the rest of 
the company, the old man protested against that, for 
we had not yet sufficiently settled the Deistical con- 
troversy, and the foundations of moral sentiment. I 
consented, and as his daughters had detained two 
Misses Hepburns, I passed the day very well between 
disputing with my landlord and w^alking about and 
philandering with the ladies. When I came to 
leave him after breakfast the next day, it was with 
the greatest difficulty he would part with me, and not 


till after lie had taken my solemn promise to come 
soon back, as I was the only friend he had left in the 
world. I at last escaped, after he had shed a flood of 
tears. I was uneasy, and asked afterwards if he was 
not a very solitary man : " No," they said, " but he 
was of a jealous temper, and thought he was hated, if 
he was not resorted to more than was possible." 

The next clergyman, Mr George Murray of North 
Berwick, was in appearance quite the opposite of Mr 
Glen, for he was a dry, withered stick, and as cold 
and repulsive in his manner as the other was kind 
and inviting ; but he was not the less to be depended 
on for that, for he was veiy worthy and sensible, 
though, at the age of fifty, as torpid in mind as in 
body. His wife, however, of the name of Reid, the 
former minister's daughter, by whose interest he got 
the church, was as swift to speak as he was slow; and 
as he never interrupted her, she kept up the conver- 
sation, such as it was, without ceasing, except that 
her household aflaii's took her sometimes out of the 
room, when he began some metaphysical argument, 
but dropped it the moment she appeared, for he said 
Anny did not like those subjects. Worn out, how- 
ever, with the fatigue of the cherry feast, I longed to 
be in bed, and took the first opportunity of a cessation 
in Anny's clapper to request to be shown to my room : 
this was complied with about eleven ; but the worthy 
man accompanied me, and beiug at last safe and at 
liberty, he began a conversation on liberty and neces- 
sity, and the foundation of morals, and the Deistical 


controversy, that lasted till two in tlie morning. I 
got away time enough next day to reach Haddington 
before dinner, having passed by Athelstaneford, where 
the minister, Mr Eobert Blair, author of The Grave, 
was said to be dying slowly ; or, at any rate, was so 
austere and void of urbanity as to make him quite 
disagreeable to young people. His wife, who was in 
every respect the opposite (a sister of Sheriff Law), 
was frank and open, and uncommonly handsome ; yet, 
even with her allurements and his acknowledged 
ability, his house was unfrequented. I passed on to 
Haddington, and dined with Mr Edward Stedman, a 
man of first-rate sense aud ability, and the leader of 
the presbytery. We called on his father-in-law, 
Mr Patrick Wilkie, who had as little desire to examine 
young men as he had capacity to judge of their pro- 
ficiency, so that I had only to pay my compliments 
and pass an hour or two with Stedman, whom I knew 
well before, and who, with the sombre constrained air 
of a Jesuit or an old Covenanter, had an enlightened 
and ardent mind, and comprehended all things human 
and divine. From him I went early in the evening 
to Mr Barclay's at Moreham, a good sensible man, but 
with not many words or topics of conversation, for he 
was a great mathematician : with the help of his wife 
and daughter, however, we made shift to spend the 
evening, and retired at an early hour. 

I passed on next forenoon to Garvald, where his 
son-in-law, Mr Archibald Blair, brother of Mr Robert, 
lived. He seemed as torpid as George Murray, and 


not more enlightened than Patrick Wilkie. He con- 
versed none. As we walked out before dinner to see 
the views, which were not remarkable, I thought I 
might try to examine him, and put a question to him 
as we entered the churchyard, which he answered 
when we got to the far end of the glebe. His wife, 
however, made it well up. This, with other instances, 
convinced me that it would have been bettet if the 
wives had preached, and the husbands spun. 

From hence I went to the next manse, which was 
Tester, where I had been very frequently before with 
John Witherspoon, afterwards the celebrated doctor.* 
The father, who had very few topics to examine on, 
as the depth of his reading was in the sermons of the 
French Calvinist ministers, which he preached daily, 
was, besides, too lazy to engage in auy thing so arduous 
as the examination of a student — how to eat and 
drink and sleep being his sole care, though he was not 
without parts, if the soul had not been buried under 
a mountain of flesh. The next I went to was old 
Lundie of Saltoun, a pious and primitive old man, 
very respectful in his manners, and very kind. He 
had been bred an old Scotch Episcopalian, and was 
averse to the Confession of Faith : the presbytery 
showed lenity towards him, so he did not sign it to 
his dying day, for which reason he never could be 
a member of Assembly. 

The last I went to on this tour was Mathew Sim- 
son, of Pencaitland, a brother of Professor Simson s, 

* See above, p. 64. 


who had been suspended for heresy, and an uncle of 
the celebrated Dr Robert Simson, both of Glasgow. 
Their father was Mr Patrick Simson, of Renfrew, who 
had been tutor to some of the family of Argyle. Mr 
Mathew was an old man, but very different in his 
manner from Mr Lundie, for he was frank and open 
and familiar, as much as the other was reserved and 
dignified. He was an excellent examinator, for he 
answered all his own questions, and concluded all with 
a receipt for making sermons, which he said would 
serve as a general rule, and answer well, be the text 
what it would. This was to begin first with an ac- 
count of the fall of man, and the depravity of human 
nature ; then a statement of the means of our recovery 
by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and, thirdly, 
an application consisting of observations, or uses, or 
reflections, or practical references tending to make us 
good men. For my patient hearing, he made me a 
present of a pen-case of his own turning, and added, if 
I would come and stay a week with him he would 
teach me to turn, and converse over the system with 
me, for he saw I was tolerably well founded, as my 
father was an able Calvinist. He said he would order 
his son Patrick, who Avas a more powerful master of 
the turning-loom than he was, to turn me a nice snuff- 
box or egg-cup, which I pleased. But Pat was lazy, 
and liked better to go about with the gun, from which 
he did not restrain him, as he not only furnished his 
sisters with plenty of partridges and hares, but like- 
wise gratified the Lady Pencaitland with many. Thus 


ended my preparatory trial by visiting the clergy, for 
with the two or three nearer home I was well ac- 

Early in November this year, 1 744, I returned to 
Glasgow. As it was a hard frost, I chose to walk, and 
went the first day to my friend ^Ir Hew Horn's at Fox- 
hall, near Kirkliston. He had been married for a year 
or two to Miss Ino-lis, a dauorhter of Sir John Ino;lis, a 
handsome, agreeable woman. I perceived that he was 
much changed, and thought him in a very dangerous 
way. He was, however, very cheerful and pleasant, 
and sat up with me till eleven o'clock. I breakfasted 
with him next morning, and then took my leave, with 
a foreboding that I should see him no more, which 
was verified, for he gave way not many months after- 
wards. In him I lost a most valuable friend. I 
walked to Whitburn at an early hour, but could ven- 
ture no further, as there was no tolerable lodging- 
house within my reach. There was then not even a 
cottage nearer than the Kirk of Shotts, and AMiit- 
burn itself was a solitaiy house in a desolate country. 

Next morning the frost was gone, and such a deluge 
of rain and tempest of wind took possession of the 
atmosphere, as put an end to aU travelling. This was 
on Thui-sday morning ; and the wet thaw and bad 
weather continuins;, I was oblis;ed to remain there for 
several days, for there was in those days neither coach 
nor chaise on the road, and not even a saddle-horse to 
be had. At last, on Sunday morning, being the fourth 
day, an open chaise reluming from Edinburgh to 



Glasgow took me in, and conveyed me safe. I had 
passed my time more tolerably than I expected ; for 
though the landlord was ignorant and stupid, his wife 
was a sensible woman, and in her youth had been 
celebrated in a song under the name of the " Bonny 
Lass of Livingstone.'^ They had five children, but no 
books but the Bible and Sir Richard Blackmore's epic 
poem of " Prince Arthur," which the landlord brought 
me in one day by the name of a song-book, which he 
said would divert me ; and so it did, for I had not met 
with it before. The walls and windows were all 
scrawled with poetry ; and I amused myself not a 
little in composing a satire on my predecessors, which 
I also inscribed on the walls, to the great delight of 
my landlady, who showed it for many years afterwards 
with vanity to her travellers. When I came to pay 
my reckoning, to my astonishment she only charged 
me 3s. 6d. for lodging and board for four days. I had 
presented the little girls with ribbons I bought from a 
wandering pedlar who had taken shelter from the storm. 
But my whole expense, maid-servant and all, was only 
5s. ; such was the rate of travelling in those days. 

I had my lodging this session in a college-room, 
which I had furnished for the session at a moderate 
rent. I had never been without a cough in the 
former winter, when I lodged in a warm house in 
King Street, opposite to what was the butchers' market 
in those days ; but such was the difference between 
the air of the College and the lower streets of Glasgow, 
that in my new apartment, though only bare walls, 


and twenty feet by seventeen, I never had cold or 
cough all the winter. John Donaldson, a college ser- 
vant, lighted my fire and made my bed ; and a maid 
from the landlady who furnished the room, came once 
a fortnight with clean linens. There were two Eng- 
lish students of theology who lived on the floor below, 
and nobody above me. I again attended the lectures 
of Professors Leechman and Hutcheson, with much 
satisfaction and improvement. 

Young Sellar, whom I mentioned before, became my 
most intimate friend ; he came to me whenever he was 
at leisure, and we passed our time very agreeably to- 
gether. He enlarged my circle of acquaintance by 
introducing me to the ladies whom he visited ; and I 
introduced him to my two intimates, ^liss Campbell 
and Mrs D., who, he admitted, were superior to any of 
his former acquaintance. In an excursion with him 
to Hamilton the year before, he had made me ac- 
quainted with Dr Cullen, and now that he was come 
to Glasgow, I improved that acquaintance. I became 
intimate with Dr M'Lean, whom I mentioned before, 
and on his suggestion we prepared to act the tragedy 
of Cato to a select company in the College. Our 
parts were allotted, and we rehearsed it well, though 
we never acted it before an audience. M'Lean and I 
allotted the parts : I was to be Cato ; he was ^llarcus ; 
our fiiend Seller, Juba ; a Mr Lesly was to do Lucius ; 
an English student of the name of Seddon was to be 
Stj^hax; and Eobin Bogle, Sempronius. Miss Campbell 
was our Marcia, and Miss Wood, Lucia ; I have for- 


got our Fortius. We rehearsed it twice, but never 
acted it. Though we never acted our play, we at- 
tained one of our chief purposes, which was, to become 
more intimate with the ladies. Lord Selkirk would 
not join us, though he took much pleasure in instruct- 
ing Miss Campbell. 

In our literary club this session we took to review- 
ing books as a proper exercise. Mr Thom, who was 
afterwards minister of Go van, a learned man, of a very 
particular but ingenious turn of mind, though much 
senior to any of us, was one of our members, and had 
great sway among us. He had quarrelled with 
Hutcheson ; and having heard me say that Hutche- 
son's book on the Passions was not intelligible, he 
assigned it to me, that I might understand it better. 
I accordingly reviewed it in a few pages, and took 
much pains to unravel certain intricacies both of 
thought and expression that had run through it : this 
I did with much freedom, though not without respect 
to the author. This essay pleased my friends ; and 
one of them, by Thom's instigation, carried a copy of 
it to Hutcheson. He glanced it over and returned it, 
saying that the young gentleman might be in the 
right, but that he had long ago made up his mind on 
those subjects, and could not now take the trouble to 
revise them. 

Not long after this, I had certain proof of the gen- 
tleness and candour of this eminent Professor ; for when 
I delivered a discourse in the Divinity Hall, it hap- 
pened to please the Professor (Leechman) so much, that 


he gave it very liberal praise, both in pubhc and pri- 
vate ; insomuch that it was borrowed by one of his 
minions, and handed about the College with so much 
approbation that Mr Hutcheson wished to see it. 
When he had read it, he returned it with unqualified 
applause, though it contained some things which a 
jealous mind might have interpreted as an attack on 
his favourite doctrine of a moral sense. His civility 
was now accompanied with some degree of confidence. 
I preserved my intimacy with my friends of last 
winter, and added a few more families to my ac- 
quaintance, which made the time pass very agreeably. 
I had been introduced to Mr Purdie, the rector of 
the school, wha had, at North Berwick, taught many 
of my young friends in the Lothians, and particu- 
larly the whole name of Dalrymple. He had half-a- 
dozen or eight boarders, for whom his daughters kept 
a very good table, insomuch that I was often invited 
to dinner, and became intimate in the family. The 
eldest daughter, who was a sensible, prudent woman, 
and mistress of the house, being about forty, sent 
for me one Saturday morning in haste ; and when I 
arrived, she took me into a room apart from her 
sisters, who were girls under twenty ; and there, with 
many tears, informed me that her father, having been 
much intoxicated on the Friday or Saturday before, 
had never since been sober ; that he had not at- 
tended the school all the w eek, and that he now was 
firmly determined to resign his office, as he was sen- 
sible he could not abstain from dram-drinking. She 


added that he had not saved much money, having 
been held down by some idle and wasteful sons, and 
that they could ill afford to want the emoluments 
of his office. She concluded by telling me that she 
had previously informed her father that she was going 
to send for me, and impart his secret to me for advice. 
To this he had not objected, and when I was carried 
to his room he received me with open arms, told me 
his dismal case with tears and lamentations, and his 
firm resolution to resign, as he was sensible he could 
not reform, and could no longer be of use. He con- 
cluded by asking for a dram, which was the second 
he had called for before nine o'clock. I laughed and 
rallied, and w^as serious and grave with him by turns, 
and used every argument I could to break him off 
his habit, but to no purpose ; for he answered all my 
arguments by the impossibility of his ever reforming, 
and consequently of ever appearing again in the 
world. He concluded with " Nelly, give me a dram," 
which she durst not refuse, otherwise he would have 
fired the house. To have time to think and consult 
about him, I went from him to the breakfast parlour. 
When I was leaving him, he prayed me to return as 
soon as possible, as he could not bear his own 
thoughts alone. 

When at breakfast, I thought of an expedient which 
I imagined I could depend upon for him, if it took 
effect. I communicated my plan to his daughter, 
and she was pleased. When I went to him again, I 
told him I was truly sorry I could not pass that day 


with liim, as I was obliged to go to Stirling, by my 
father's orders, upon business, and that I had made 
choice of that day, as I could return without missing 
more than one day of the College. I added that I 
had never been there, and had not been able to find a 
companion, for which I was sorry. " Nelly," said he, 
with great quickness, " do you think I could sit on a 
horse ? if I could, I would go with him and show him 
the way." I cajoled him on this, and so did his 
daughter ; and, in short, after an early dinner while 
the horses and a servant were preparing, we set out 
for Stirlinoj about one o'clock, I havinor taken his 
w-ord before his daughter, that in all things he would 
comply with my will, otherwise I would certainly 

I had much difficulty to get him to pass the little 
village public-houses which were in our way, without 
calling for drams. He made this attempt half-a-dozen 
times in the first stage, but I would not consent, and 
besides promised him he should have as much wine as 
he pleased. With much difficulty I got him to Kil- 
syth, where we stopped to feed our horses, and where 
we drank a bottle of claret. In short, I got him to 
Stirling before it was quite dark, in the second week 
of April, old style : he ate a hearty supper, and we 
had another bottle of claret, and he confessed he 
never slept sound but that night, since he was taken 
ill. In short, we remained at Stirling aU Sunday, 
attended church, and had our dinner and claret, and 
our walk on the Castle-hUl in the evening. I brought 


him to his own house on Monday by five o'clock. 
The man's habit was broken ; he was again of a sound 
mind, and he attended his school on Tuesday in per- 
fect health. As many of the Professors were Purdie's 
friends, this successful act of kindness to him raised 
me in their esteem, and atoned for many levities 
with which I had been taxed. 

He lived many years after this, but did not leave 
his family independent. One of his daughters was 
married creditably in Edinburgh : the two eldest 
came to live there after his death, but were in indi- 
gence. In the year 1778 I happened to be for a 
few weeks at Buxton, where I met with Sir William 
Gordon, K.B., who had been a boarder at Purdie's for 
two or three years before 1745, and who was at Ley- 
den with me in the end of that year. Eiding out 
with him one day, he happened to ask me in what 
state Purdie's family was left 1 I told him what I 
knew, and added that they had a kind remembrance 
of him, for that not many months after he had left 
them, I heard Nelly say, with tears in her eyes, upon 
an insult having been ofiered them by some of their 
neighbours, that they durst not have done so if 
Willy Gordon had been in the house. He answered 
that the father had very often licked him, but he had 
no resentment, as it was for his advantage, and that 
the daughters were good girls. He concluded by 
offering me a sum of money. I thought it better to 
accept of an annual pension of £10, which he remitted 
to them by me for several years. 


My friendship mtli Mrs D. and lier brother never 
impaired, though, ha^v^ug a more extended acquaint- 
ance than I had the preceding year, I was frequently 
engaged when they wished to have me with them. 

I became acquainted with Mr Wood's family, where 
there were tliree or four very agreeable daughters, 
besides the Governor of the Isle of Man, and Andrew 
the clergyman, who died rector of Gateshead, by 
Newcastle, in the year 1772, of a fever which he con- 
tracted by exerting himself with the utmost humanity 
to save his parishioners on the fatal night when the 
bridge of Newcastle fell. Here it was that I met 
with Colonel Robert Hepburn of Keith for the first 
time since we had been at the same class together in 
the year 1736. We left Mr Wood's early in an even- 
ing after drinking tea, retired to Cockaine's tavern, 
and did not part till near five in the morning. ]\Iost 
unfortunately for me, I had made an appointment 
with Mr James Hogg, a probationer, and tutor to the 
four sons of Sir John Douglas of Kelhead, to ride ten or 
twelve miles with them on their way to Annandale ; 
and I had hardly become warm in bed when rap-rap 
he came to my door, and insisted on my getting up 
and fulfiUiug my promise. Never in my life had I 
such reluctance to fulfil any promise, for Hepburn had 
proposed to make rack punch our beverage after sup- 
per, which I had never tasted before, and which had 
given me the first headache I had almost ever felt. 
There was no help for it. It was a fine morning in the 
second week of May ; we breakfasted at Hamilton, 


and I rode six miles farther with them and re- 

James Hogg was a man of a good heart and un- 
common generosity. Sir John's affairs were com- 
pletely deranged, and he could raise no money to 
carry on the education of his boys. Hogg had a little 
patrimony of his own, nearly £200 : rather than his 
pupils should suffer, two of whom were fit for college, 
he came to Glasgow with all the four, and with a 
trusty old woman of a servant : he kept a small house 
for them in King Street, and being an excellent econo- 
mist, fed them well at the least possible expense. I 
frequently dined with him and them, and was aston- 
ished at his good management. This he continued 
all the next year also, when Sir John was sent to the 
Tower of London for rebellious practices. This debt, 
together with arrears of wages, was not paid till many 
years afterwards, when Hogg was minister of Linlith- 
gow, where he died by a fall from his horse in spring 
1770. Had his understanding been as strong as his 
heart was generous, he would have been a first-rate 

In that week, or that immediately following, Will 
Sellar and I, and Eobin Bogle of Shettleston, went 
on a party with ladies, two Miss Woods and Peggy 
Douglas of Mains, a celebrated wit and a beauty, even 
then in the wane. When we came to Hamilton, she 
prayed us to send a messenger a few miles to bring 
to us a clergyman of a neighbouring parish, a Mr 
Thomas Clelland. He came to us when we were 


viewing the romantic gardens of Bamcluch, which lie 
between Hamilton and the Dog- Kennel. 

Thomas Clelland was a good-looking little man, but 
his hair was becoming grey, which no sooner Margaret 
observed, than she rallied him pretty roughly (which 
was her way) on his being an old fusty bachelor, and 
on his increasing marks of age since she had seen him, 
not more than a year before. x\fter bearing patiently 
all the efforts of her wit, " Margaret," says he, " you 
know that I am master of the parish register where 
your age is recorded, and that I know when you must 
be with justice called an old maid, in spite of your 
juvenile airs." " What care I, Tom 1 " said she ; " for I 
have for some time renounced your worthless sex : I 
have sworn to be Duchess of Douglas, or never to 
mount a marriage-bed." This happened in May 1 745. 
She made her purpose good. When she made this 
prediction she was about thirty. It was fulfilled a 
few years aft^r.'" 

I had an opportunity of seeing the temper and 
spirit of the clergy in the neighbourhood of Glasgow a 
second time this year, by means of a trial of a clergy- 
man in the county of Ajrr for certain alleged crimes, 
which came by appeal before the Synod of Glasgow. 
The person tried was a very sensible man, of much 
wit and humour, who had made a butt of a neigh- 
bouring clergyman, who was weak, and at the same 

* Margaret, daughter of James Douglas of Mains, was married in 1758 to 
Archibald, first and last Duke of Douglas. She dietl in 177-t, leaving a tra- 
ditional reputation for much freedom of speech and action. — £d. 


time good-natured, and had all the qualities of a butt. 
He was found out, however, to be a man full of deep 
resentment, and so malicious as to turn frolic into 
crime. After many very late sederunts of the Synod, 
and at last a hearing of the General Assembly, the 
aflfair was dismissed. The gentleman was settled in 
the parish to which he was presented, and many years 
afterwards died minister of Glasgow, where his good 
name had been so much traduced, much regretted ; — a 
caution to young men of wit and humour to beware 
of fools as much as knaves. 

I was detained later at Glasgow than I would have 
chosen, that I might obtain my credentials from the 
University, as by the tenor of the Act of Bursary I was 
obliged on this third year to repair to some foreign 
Protestant university. I had taken my degree of A.M. 
at Edinburgh, and had only to get here my certifi- 
cate of attendance for two years, and my Latin letter 
recommending me to foreign academies. I must ac- 
knowledge that I had profited much by two years' 
study at Glasgow in two important branches — viz., 
moral philosophy and tlieology ; along with which 
last I received very excellent instructions on compo- 
sition, for Leechman was not only fervent in spirit 
when he lectured, but ornamented all his discourses 
with a taste derived from his knowledge of belles 

In the months of June and July 1745, I went 
through most of my trials in the presbytery of Had- 
dington, as my father was resolved I should be ready 


to take out my licence within a montli after my 
return from abroad. In the month of August I went 
to Dumfriesshire, to pass a few weeks there, and to 
take leave of my friends. About the end of that 
month I received orders from my father to repair to 
Drumlanrig Castle, to meet his friend Dr John Sin- 
clair, M.D., who was to be some days there on his 
way from Moffat to Dumfries, and after that to re- 
turn home as soon as 1 could, as he expected to be 
home about the 18th of next month with my mother 
from Langton, near Dunse, where they were drinking 
goats' whey. 

I accordingly met Dr Sinclair at Drumlanrig, where 
I had been frequently before with my friend James 
Ferguson of Craigdarroch, who was then acting com- 
missioner for his Grace the Duke of Queensberry. He 
had been bred to the law, but relinquished the bar 
for this employment, which seated him within a few 
miles of his own estate, which needed improvement. 
His first lady was a sister of Sir Henry Nisbet's, who 
died young ; his second was her cousin, a daughter of 
the Hon. Baron Dalrymple, Dr Sinclair had been my 
father's class-fellow, and had a great regard for him ; 
he was an elegant scholar, and remarkable for his per- 
fect knowledge of the Latin tongue, which in those 
days was much cultivated in Scotland. The profes- 
sors of medicine then taught in Latin, and Dr Sin- 
clair was one of that first set who raised the fame of 
the school of medicine in Edinburgh above that of 
any other in Europe. He and Dr John Clerk, the 


great practising physician, had found Moffat waters 
agree with themselves, and frequented it every season 
in their turns for a month or six weeks, and by that 
means drew many of their patients there, which made 
it be more frequented than it has been of late years, 
when there is much better accommodation. 

I had promised Mr R. Bogle and his sister to pass 
a few days with them at Moffat, on the road to which 
I passed one day with my friend William Cunning- 
ham, minister of Durisdeer, the Duke of Queens- 
berry's parish church. He was knowing and accom- 
plished, and pleasing and elegant in his manners, 
beyond most of the Scottish clergymen of that day. 
The Duchess of Queensberry (Lady K. Hyde) had 
discovered his merit on her visit to Scotland, and had 
him constantly with her, so that he was called the 
Duchess's Walking-staff. From his house I crossed to 
Moffat, about fifteen miles off, but did not reach it 
that night on account of a thunder-storm which had 
made the waters impassable, so that I was obliged to 
lodge in what they call a shieling, where I was used 
with great hospitality and uncommon politeness by 
a young farmer and his sister, who were then residing 
there, attending the milking of the ewes, the business 
of that season in a sheep country. 

When I got to Moffat, I found my expecting friends 
still there, though the news had arrived that the 
Chevalier Prince Charles had landed in the north with 
a small train, had been joined by many of the clans, 
and might be expected to break down into the low 

ED12S BURGH IN THE '45. Ill 

country, unless Sir John Cope, who was then on his 
march north, should meet with them and disperse 
them. I remained only a few days at Moffat, as the 
news became more important and alarming every 
day ; and, taking leave of my friends, I got home to 
Prestonpans on the evening of the 12th of September. 
My father, &c., were not returned, but I was perfectly 
informed of the state of public affairs by many per- 
sons in the place, who told me that Prince Charles 
had evaded Sir John Cope, who found himself obliged 
to march on to Inverness, not venturing to attack the 
Highlanders on the hLQ of Corry-arrock, and was then 
proceeding to Aberdeen, where transports were sent 
to bring his army by sea to the Firth. I was also 
informed that as the Highlanders were making hasty 
marches, the city of Edinburgh was putting itself in 
some state of defence, so as to be able to resist the 
rebels in case of an attack before Sir John Cope 

On this news I repaired to Edinburgh the next 
day, which was the 13th, and, meeting many of my 
companions, found that they were enlisting them- 
selves in a corps of four hundred Volunteers, which 
had been embodied the day before, and were thought 
necessary for the defence of the city. Messrs William 
Robertson, John Home, "William M'Ghie, Hugh Ban- 
natyne, William Cleghorn, AVilliam Wilkie, George 
Logan, and many others, had enlisted into the first or 
College Company, as it was called, which was to be 
commanded by Provost Drummond, who was expected 


to return that day from London, where he had been 
for some time. On the 14th I joined that company, 
and had arms put into my hands, and attended a 
drill-serjeant that afternoon and the next day to 
learn the manual exercise, which I had formerly been 
taught by my father, who had himself been a Volun- 
teer in the end of Queen Anne's reign, when there 
was an alarm about the Pretender, but were obliged 
to hold their meetings in malt-barns in the night, and 
by candle-light. 

The city was in great ferment and bustle at this 
time ; for besides the two parties of Whigs and Jacob- 
ites — of which a well-informed citizen told me there 
were two-thirds of the men in the city of the first 
description, or friends to Government ; and of the 
second, or enemies to Government, two-thirds of the 
ladies, — besides this division, there was another be- 
tween those who were keen for preparing with zeal 
and activity to defend the city, and those who were 
averse to that measure, which were Provost Stuart and 
all his friends ; and this appeared so plainly from the 
Provost's conduct and manner at the time, that there 
was not a Whig in town who did not suspect that he 
favoured the Pretender's cause ; and however cau- 
tiously he acted in his capacity of chief magistrate, 
there were not a few who suspected that his back- 
wardness and coldness in the measure of arming the 
people, w^as part of a plan to admit the Pretender into 
the city. 

It was very true that a half-armed regiment of new 


raised men, with four hundred Volunteers from the 
city, and two hundred from other places, might not 
be thought sufficient for the defence of the city, had 
it been seriously besieged ; yet, considering that the 
Highlanders were not more than 1800, and the half 
of them only armed — that they were averse to ap- 
proach walls, and afraid of cannon — I am persuaded 
that, had the dragoons proved firm and resolute, in- 
stead of running away to Dunbar to meet Sir John 
Cope, it was more than two to one that the rebels 
had never approached the city till they had defeated 
Cope, which, in that case, they would not probably 
have attempted. Farther, I am of opinion, that if 
that part of the Town Council who were Whigs had 
found good ground to have put Stuart under arrest, 
the city would have held out. 

In this opinion of Stuart I was confirmed, when in 
London, the following month of April I happened 
to be in the British or Forrest's Cofieehouse, I forget 
which, in the afternoon of the day when the news of 
the victory at Culloden arrived. I was sitting at a 
table with Dr Smollett and Bob Smith (the Duke of 
Koxburgh's Smith), when John Stuart, the son of the 
Provost, who was then confined in the Tower, after 
turning pale and murmuring many curses, left the 
room in a rage, and slapped the door behind him with 
much violence. I said to my two companions, that 
lad Stuart is either a madman or a fool to discover 
himself in this manner, when his father is in the 
Tower on suspicion. Smith, who knew him best, 



acquiesced in my opinion, and added, that he had 
never seen him so much beside himself. 

For a few days past M'Laurin the professor had 
been busy on the walls on the south side of the town, 
endeavouring to make them more defensible, and had 
even erected some small cannon near to Potterrow 
Port, which I saw. I visited my old master when he 
w^as busy, who seemed to have no doubt that he could 
make the walls defensible against a sudden attack, 
but complained of want of service, and at the same 
time encouraged me and my companions to be dili- 
gent in learning the use of arms. We were busy all 
Saturday, when there arrived in town Bruce of Ken- 
nett, with a considerable number of Volunteers, above 
100 from his country, and Sir Robert Dickson with 
130 or 140 from Musselburgh and the parish of In- 
veresk ; this increased the strength and added to the 
courage of the loyal inhabitants. 

On Sunday morning the 15th, however, news had 
arrived in town that the rebel army had been at Lin- 
lithgow the night before, and were on full march to- 
wards Edinburgh. This altered the face of affairs, 
and made thinking people fear that they might be in 
possession of Edinburgh before Cope arrived. The 
Volunteers rendezvoused in the College Yards before 
ten o'clock, to the number of about 400. Captain 
Drummond appeared at ten, and, walking up in front 
of the right of his company, where I stood with all 
my companions of the corps, he addressed us in a 
speech of some length, the purport of which w^as, that 


it had been agreed by the General, and the Officers of 
the Crown, that the military force should oppose the 
rebels on their march to Edinburgh, consisting of the 
Town Guard, that part of the new regiment who had 
got arms, with the Volunteers from the country. WTiat 
he had to propose to us was, that we should join this 
force, and expose our lives in defence of the capital of 
Scotland, and the security of our country's laws and 
liberties. He added that, as there was a necessity for 
leaving some men in arms for the defence of the city, 
that any persons choosing the one service rather than 
the other would bring no imputation of blame, but 
that he hoped his company would distinguish them- 
selves by their zeal and spirit on this occasion. This 
was answered by an unanimous shout of applause. 

We were marched immediately up to the Lawn- 
market, where we halted tiU the other companies should 
follow. They were late in making their appearance, 
and some of their officers, coming up to us whUe in 
the street, told us that most of the privates were un- 
wiHing to march. During this halt, Hamilton's dra- 
goons, who had been at Leith, marched past our corps, 
on their route to join Gardiner's regiment, who were 
at the Colt Bridge. We cheered them, in passing, with 
a huzzah ; and the spectators began to think at last, 
that some serious fighting was likely to ensue, though 
before this moment many of them had laughed at and 
ridiculed the Volunteers. A striking example of this 
we had in our company, for a Mr Hawthorn, a son of 
Bailie Hawthorn, who had laughed at his companions 


among the Volunteers, seeing us pass tlirougla tlie 
Luckenbooths in good order, and with apparent mili- 
tary ardour, ran immediately up-stairs to his father's 
house, and, fetching his fowling-piece and his small 
sword, joined us before we left the Lawnmarket. 

While we remained there, which was great part of 
an hour, the mob in the street and the ladies in the 
windows treated us very variously, many with lamen- 
tation, and even with tears, and some with apparent 
scorn and derision. In one house on the south side 
of the street there was a row of windows, full of 
ladies, who appeared to enjoy our march to danger 
with much levity and mirth. Some of our warm 
Volunteers observed them, and threatened to fire into 
the windows if they were not instantly let down, 
which was immediately complied with. In marching 
down the Bow, a narrow winding street, the scene was 
different, for all the spectators were in tears, and utter- 
ing loud lamentations ; insomuch that Mr Kinloch, a 
probationer, the son of Mr Kinloch, one of the High 
Church ministers, wlio was in the second rank just 
behind Hew Ballantine, said to him in a melancholy 
tone, " Mr Hew, Mr Hew, does not this remind you of a 
passage in Livy, when the Gens Fabii marched out of 
Eome to prevent the Gauls entering the city, and the 
whole matrons and virgins of Rome were wringing their 
hands, and loudly lamenting the certain danger to 
which that generous tribe was going to be exposed ? " 
" Hold your tongue," says Ballantine, " otherwise I 
shall complain to the officer, for you'll discourage the 


men." " You must recollect the end, Mr Hew, omnes 
ad unum pei^eri." This occasioned a hearty laugh 
among those who heard it, which being over, Ballan- 
tine half whispered Kinloch, " Eobin, if you are afraid, 
you had better steal off when you can find an oppor- 
tunity ; I shall not tell that you are gone till we are 
too far off to recover you." 

AVe halted in the Grassmarket, near the West Port, 
that the other bodies who were to join us might come. 
On our march, even our company had lost part of 
their number, and none of the other Volunteers had 
come up. The day being advanced to between twelve 
and one o'clock, the brewers who lived in that end of 
the street brought out bread and cheese, and strong 
ale and brandy, as a refreshment for us, in the belief 
that we needed it, in marching on such an enterprise. 
While we remained in this position, my younger 
brother William, then near fifteen, as promising a 
young man as ever was born, of a fine genius, and an 
excellent scholar, though he had been kept back with 
very bad health, came up to me. He had walked 
into town that morning in his anxiety about me, and 
learniDg that I was with the company on our march 
to fight the rebels, he had run down with great 
anxiety from the house where I lodged, to leam how 
things really stood. He was melancholy and much 
alarmed. I withdrew with him to the head of a 
neighbouring close, and endeavoured to abate his 
fears, by assuring him that our march was only a 
feint to keep back the Highlanders, and that we 


should in a little while be ordered back to our field 
for exercise in the College. His anxiety began to 
abate, when, thinking that, whatever should happen, 
it would be better for me to trust him with a Por- 
tugal piece of thirty-six shillings and three guineas 
that I had in my pocket, I delivered them over to 
him. On this he burst into tears, and said I surely 
did not think as I said, but believed I was going out 
to danger, otherwise I Avould not so readily part with 
my money. I comforted him the best way I could, and 
took back the greater part of the money, assuring him 
that I did not believe yet that we would be sent out, 
or if we were, I thought we would be in such force that 
the rebels would not face us. The young man was com- 
forted, and I gave him a rendezvous for nine at night. 
"While we were waiting for an additional force, a 
body of the clergy (the forenoon service being but ill 
attended on account of the ringing of the fire bell, 
which is the great alarm in Edinburgh), who were the 
two Wisharts, Wallace, Glen, Logan, &c., came to us. 
Dr AVilliam Wishart, Principal of the College, was 
their prolocutor, and called upon us in a most pathetic 
speech to desist from this rash enterprise, which he 
said was exposing the flower of the youth of Edin- 
burgh, and the hope of the next generation, to the dan- 
ger of being cut ofi", or made prisoners and maltreated, 
without any just or adequate object ; that our num- 
ber added so very little to the force that was intended 
against the rebels, that withdrawing us would make 
little difference, while our loss would be irreparable, and 


that at any rate a body of men in arms was necessary 
to keep the city quiet during the absence of the armed 
force, and therefore he prayed and besought the Volun- 
teers and their officers to give up all thoughts of leav- 
ing the city defenceless, to be a prey to the seditious. 
This discourse, and others similar to it, had an eflfect 
upon many of us, though youthful ardour made us 
reluctant to abandon the prospect of showing our 
prowess. Two or three of the warmest of our youths 
remonstrated against those unreasonable speeches, and 
seemed eager for the fight. From that moment I saw 
the impropriety of sending us out, but till the order 
was recalled, it was our duty to remain in readiness 
to obey. "We remained for near an hour longer, and 
were joined by another body of Volunteers, and part 
of the new reodment that was raisino;. Not lonir 
after came an order for the Volimteers to march 
back to the College Yards, when Provost Drummond, 
who had been absent, returned and put himself at our 
head, and marched us back. In the mean time the 
other force that had been collected, with ninety men 
of the Town Guard, &c., &c., marched out to the Colt 
Bridge, and joined the dragoons, who were watching 
the approach of the enemy. Some of the Volunteers 
imagined that this manoeuvre about the Volunteers 
was entirely Drimmiond's, and that he had no mind 
to face the rebels, though he had made a parade of 
courage and zeal, to make himself popular. But this 
was not the man's character — want of personal courage 
was not his defect. It was civil courage in which he 


failed ; for all his life he had a great deference to his 
superiors. But I then thought as I do now, that his 
offer to carry out the Volunteers was owing to his zeal 
and prowess — for personally he was a gallant High- 
lander ; but on better considering the matter, after hear- 
ing the remonstrance of the clergy, he did not think 
that he could well be answerable for exposing so many 
young men of condition to certain danger and uncer- 
tain victory. 

When we were dismissed from the College Yards, 
we were ordered to rendezvous there again in the 
evening, as night guards were to be posted round the 
whole city. Twelve or thirteen of the most intimate 
friends went to a late dinner to a Mrs Turnbull's, 
then next house to the Tron Church. Many things 
were talked of with great freedom, for the company 
were William M'Ghie, William Cleghorn, William 
Eobertson, John Home, Hugh Ballantine, and I. The 
other names I have forgot. Sundry proposals were 
made, one of which was that we should march off 
with our arms into England, and raise a volunteering 
spirit ; or at any rate that we should join Sir John 
Cope's army, and try to get as many as possible to 
follow us. As I had been separated from my com- 
panions for two years, by my attendance at Glasgow, 
I had less confidence to speak my mind, especially 
as some of my warm associates thought everybody 
cowardly, or a secret Jacobite, who did not agree with 
them. However, perceiving that some of the company 
did not agree with the chief speakers, I ventured to 



state, that before we resolved to march off with our 
arms, we should take care to have a suflBcient number 
of followers ; for even if it were a lawful act to march 
off with our arms without orders, we would appear 
ridiculous and contemptible if there were no more of 
us than the present company, and I guessed we could 
not reckon on three or four more. This brought out 
M'Ghie and Hew Ballantine, who were considered the 
steadiest men amongst us. This occasioned a warm 
altercation, for Cleghorn and Home, in those days, 
were very fiery. At last, however, it was settled that 
we should try, in the course of next day, to find if we 
could prevail on any considerable number to follow 
us, and if not, that we should carry our arms to the 
Castle, that they might not fall into the enemies' 
hands, and then make the best of our way separately 
to Sir John Cope's army, and offer our service. 

When the night-watch was set, all the company I 
have now mentioned were appointed to guard the 
Trinity Hospital, in Leith Wynd, which was one of the 
weakest parts of the city. There twelve of us were 
placed under the command of Lieutenant Alexander 
Scott, a young man of spirit, a merchant in the city, 
and not two or three years senior to the eldest of ns. 
Here we had nothing to do all night but make 
responses every half hour, as the "All's weU" came 
round from the other guards that were posted at 
certain distances, so that a stranger who was ap- 
proaching the city would have thought it was going 
to be gallantly defended. But we knew the contraiy ; 


for, as Provost Stuart and all his friends had been 
against making any preparation for defence, when 
they yielded to the zeal of their opponents, they 
hung a dead weight on every measure. This we 
were all sensible of, and had now no doubt that they 
wished the city to fall into the Pretender's hands, 
however carefully they might hide their intentions. 

At one o'clock, the Lord Provost and his guard 
visited all the posts, and found us at Trinity Hospital 
very alert. When he was gone, " Did you not see," 
said John Home to me, " how pale the traitor looked, 
when he found us so vigilant 1 " " No," I replied, " I 
thought he looked and behaved perfectly well, and it 
was the light from the lantern that made him appear 
pale." AVhen we were relieved in the morning, I went 
to my lodging, and tried to get a few hours' sleep ; 
but though the house was down a close, the noise 
was so great, and my spirits so much agitated, that I 
got none. 

At noon on the 1 6th, when I went to the streets, I 
heard that General Fowlks had arrived from London 
early, and, by order of General Guest, had taken com- 
mand of the 2d Eegiment of Dragoons, who, having 
retired the night before from Corstorphine, where they 
left only a guard, had marched with them to the Golt 
Bridge, a mile nearer than Corstorphine, and were 
joined by the same body of foot that had been with 
them on the 15th. The rebels, however, were slowly 
approaching, and there was no news of Sir John Cope's 
arrival with the army from Aberdeen ; and the general 


opinion was, tliat the town would certainly be given 
up. Tlie most zealous Whigs came now to think this 
necessary, as they plainly thought they saw Provost 
Stuart and his friends, so far from co-operating with 
their zeal, retarded every measure. 

But the fate of the city was decided early in the 
afternoon, when the two regiments of dragoons were 
seen about four o'clock on their march from the Colt 
Bridge to Leith, by the long dykes, as then called ; 
now George Street in the New Town. Then the 
clamour arose, that it would be madness to think of 
defending the town, as the* dragoons had fled. The 
alarm bell was rung — a meeting of the inhabitants 
with the magistrates was convened, first in the Gold- 
smith's Hall, and when the crowd increased, in the 
New Church aisle. The four companies of Volunteers 
rendezvoused in the Lawnmarket, and, growing im- 
patient, sent two of their lieutenants to the Provost for 
orders, for the captains had been sent for to the meet- 
ing. They soon returned without any orders, and 
said all was clamour and discordance. "While they 
were absent, two Volunteers in the rear rank (Boyle 
and Weir), just behind, quarrelled, when debating 
whether or not the city should be surrendered, and 
were going to attack one another, one with his musket 
and bayonet, and the other with his small sword, 
having flung down his musket. They were soon 
separated without any harm, and placed asunder from 
each other. At this time, a man on horseback, whom 
nobody knew, came up from the Bow, and, riding at a 


quick pace along the line of Volunteers, called out 
that the Highlanders were at hand, and that they 
were 16,000 strong. This fellow did not stop to be 
examined, but rode off at the gallop. About this 
time, a letter had come, directed to the Provost, sum- 
moning the' town to surrender, and alarming them 
with the consequence in case any opposition w^as 

The Provost made a scrupulous feint about reading 
the letter, but this point was soon carried, and all 
idea of defence was abandoned. Soon after, Captain 
Drummond joined us in the Lawnmarket, with an- 
other captain or two. He sent to General Guest, 
after conversing a little with the lieutenant, to acquaint 
him that the Volunteers were coming to the Castle to 
deliver their arms. The messenger soon returned, 
and we marched up, glad to deliver them, lest they 
should have fallen into the hands of the enemy, which 
the delay of orders seemed to favour, though not a 
little ashamed and afflicted at our inglorious cam- 

We endeavoured to engage as many as we could to 
meet us at Haddington, and there deliberate what 
was to be done, as we conjectured that, now that the 
town of Edinburgh had surrendered, Sir John Cope 
would not land nearer than Dunbar. Upon being 
asked by two of my friends what I was to do — viz., 
William Robertson and William Cleghorn — I told them 
that I meant to go that night to my father's, at 
Prestonpans, where, if they would join me next day, 



by that time events might take place that would fix 
our resolution. Our ardour for arms and the field 
was not abated. 

As it was now the dusk of the evening, I went to a 
house near the Nether Bow Port, where I had ap- 
pointed my brother to meet me, that we might walk 
home together. Having foreseen the events that took 
place, as the rebels were so near the town, I wished 
to take the road as soon as possible, but on attempt- 
ing to get out of the gate, in the inside of which 
several loaded carts or wacrorons were standinor, I found 
the gates locked, and the keys lodged with the Pro- 
vost. The carts were said to contain the bap^craae of 
Sir John Cope's army, &c., and each party interpreted 
the shutting of the gates according to their own fancy 
— one side thinking this was a manoeuvre to prevent 
their reaching Sir John ; and the other, to hinder 
them from falling into the hands of the enemy. Be 
that as it may, it was half-past eight o'clock before 
the gate was opened, when I heard the baggage was 
ordered back to the Castle. At a later hour they 
were sent to Dunbar. 

My brother and I set out immediately, and after 
passing through the crowd at the head of the Canon- 
gate, who were pressing both ways to get out and in, 
we went through the Abbey, by St xVnn's Yards and 
the Duke's Walk, to Jock's Lodge, meeting hardly a 
mortal the whole way. When we came down near 
the sands, I chose that way rather than the road 
through the whins, as there was no moonlight, and 


the whins were dark and solitary, but the sands 
always lightsome when the sea is in ebb, which was 
then the case. We walked slowly, as I had been 
fatigued, and my brother not strong; and, having met 
no mortal but one man on horseback as we entered 
the sands, riding at a brisk trot, who hailed us, we 
arrived at the west end of Prestonpans, having shunned 
Musselburgh by passing on the north side, without 
meeting or being overtaken by anybody. When we 
came to the gate of Lucky Vint's Courtyard, a tavern 
or inn then much frequented, I was astonished to 
meet with the utmost alarm and confusion — the 
officers of the dragoons calling for their horses in the 
greatest hurr)^. On stepping into the Court, Lord 
Drummore, the judge, saw me (his house being near, 
he had come down to sup with the officers). He 
immediately made up to me, and hastily inquired 
" Whence I had come 1 " " From Edinburgh direct." 
" Had the town surrendered 1 " " No ! but it was 
expected to fall into the hands of the rebels early to- 
morrow." "Were there any Highlanders on their 
march this wayl " "Not a soul ;" I could answer for 
it, as I had left Edinburgh past eight o'clock, and had 
walked out deliberately, and seen not a creature but 
the horseman in the sands. 

He turned to the officers, and repeated my intelli- 
gence, and asserted that it must be a false alarm, as 
he could depend on me. But this had no effect, for 
they believed the Highlanders were at hand. It was 
in vain to tell them that they had neither wings nor 


horses, nor were invisible — away they went, as fast 
as they eould, to their respective corps, who, on 
marching from Leith, where they thought themselves 
not safe, had halted in an open field, above the west 
end of Prestonpans, between Prestongrange and the 
enclosures of Mr Nisbet, lying west from the village 
of Preston. On inquiring what was become of Gar- 
diner, Drummore told me, that being quite worn out 
on their arrival on that ground, he had begged to go 
to his own house, within half a mile, where he had 
been since eight o'clock, and where he had locked 
himself in, and could not be awaked till four in the 
morniug, his usual hour. I went through the town 
to my father's, and before I got there I heard the 
dragoons marching in confusion, so strong was their 
panic, on the road that leads by the back of the 
gardens to Port Seaton, Aberlady, and Xorth Berwick, 
all the way by the shore. ]Sly father and mother 
were not yet come home. 

Before six on Tuesday morning, the 1 7th, Mr James 
Hay, a gentleman in the town, who was afterwards a 
lieutenant iii the Edinburgh Eegiment, came to my 
bedside, and eagerly inquired what I thought was to 
be done, as the dragoons, in marchino: along in their 
confusion, had strewed the road eastward with ac- 
coutrements of every kind — pistols, swords, skullcaps, 
&c. I said that people should be employed imme- 
diately to gather them up, and send them after, which 
was done, and amounted to what filled a close cart 
and a couple of creels on horseback. By this time it 


was reported that the transports with Cope were seen 
off Dunbar. But it was not this news, for it was not 
then come, that made the dragoons scamper from 
their ground on the preceding night. It was an un- 
lucky dragoon, who, slipping a little aside for a pea- 
sheaf to his horse, for there were some on the ground 
not led off, fell into a coal-pit, not filled up, when his 
side-arms and accoutrements made such a noise, as 
alarmed a body of men, who, for two days, had been 
completely panic-struck. 

About mid-day, I grew anxious for the arrival of 
my two companions, Cleghorn and Eobertson. I, 
therefore, walked out on the road to Edinburgh, when, 
on going as far as where the turnpike is now, below 
Drummore, I met with Eobertson on horseback, who 
told me that a little way behind him was Cleghorn 
and a cousin of his own, a Mr Fraser of the Excise, 
who wished to accompany us to Sir John Cope's 
camp, for it was now known that he was to land 
that day at Dunbar, and the city of Edinburgh had 
been surrendered early that morning to the Highland 

We waited till our companions came up, and walked 
together to my father's house, where I had ordered 
some dinner to be prepared for them by two o'clock. 
They were urgent to have it sooner, as they wished to 
begin our journey towards Dunbar as long before 
sunset as they could. 

As we were finishing a small bowl of punch that I 
had made for them after dinner, James Hay, the 


gentleman I mentioned before, paid us a visit, and 
immediately after the ordinary civilities, said earnestly 
that he had a small favour to ask of us, which was 
that we would be so good as accept of a small colla- 
tion which his sister and he had provided at their 
house — that of Charles Sheriff, the most eminent mer- 
chant in the place, who had died not long before, and 
left a widow and four daughters with this gentleman, 
their uncle, to manage their affairs. We declined 
accepting this invitation for fear of being too late. 
He continued strongly to solicit our company, adding 
that he would detain us a very short while, as he had 
only four bottles of burgundy, which if we did not 
accept of, he would be obliged to give to the High- 
landers. The name of burgundy, which some of us 
had never tasted, disposed us to listen to terms, and 
we immediately adjourned to Mrs Sheriff's, not an 
hundred yards distant. We found very good apples 
and pears and biscuit set out for us, and after one 
bottle of claret to wast away the taste of the whisky 
punch, we fell to the burgundy, which we thought 
excellent ; and in little more than an hour we were 
ready to take the road, it being then not long after 
five o'clock. Robertson mounted his horse, and left 
us to go round by his house at Gladsmuir to get 
a little money, as he had not wherewithal to defray 
his expenses, and mentioned an hour when he pro- 
mised to meet us at Bangley Braefoot, jMaggie John- 
stone's, a public-house on the road leading to Dunbar, 
by Garlton Hills, a mile to the north of Haddington. 



There were no horses here for me, for though my 
father kept two, he had them both at the Goat Whey 

When we came within sight of the door of this 
house, we saw Eobertson dismounting from his horse : 
we got some beer or porter to refresh us after our 
walk, and having broken off in the middle of a 
keen dispute between Cleghorn and a recruiting ser- 
geant, whether the musket and bayonet, or broad- 
sword and target, were the best weapons, we proceed- 
ed on our journey, still a little doubtful if it was 
true that Sir John Cope had arrived. We proceeded 
slowly, for it was dark, till we came to Linton Bridge. 
Eobertson, with his usual prudence, proposed to stay 
all night, it being ten o'clock, and still double beds 
for us all. Cleghorn's ardour and mine resisted this 
proposal ; and getting a loan of Robertson's horse, we 
proceeded on to the camp at Dunbar, that we might 
be more certain of Sir John's arrival. At Belton Inn, 
within a mile of the camp, we were certified of it, 
and might then have turned in, but we obstinately 
persisted in our plan, fancying that we should find 
friends among the officers to receive us into their 
tents. When we arrived at the camp we were not 
allowed admittance, and the officer on the picket, 
whom Cleo-horn knew, assured us that there was not 
an inch of room for us or our horse, either in camp or 
at Dunbar, and advised us to return. Being at last 
persuaded that Cope was landed, and that we had 
played the fool, we first attempted Belton Inn, but it 


was choked full by that time, as we were convinced 
by eight or ten footmen lounging in the kitchen on 
tables and chairs. We tried the inn at Linton with 
the same success. At last we were obliared to knock 
up the minister. Mat. Reid, at two in the morning, 
who, taking us for marauders from the camp, kept us 
an hour at the door. We were hardly well asleep, when, 
about six, Robertson came to demand his horse, quite 
stout and well refreshed, as well as his cousin Fraser, 
while we were jaded and undone ; such is the difference 
between wisdom and folly. 

After breakfasting, however, at the inn, we set out 
again for Dunbar, in sanguine hopes that we should 
soon return with the army, and give a good account 
of Sir John Cope, On our way, we visited the camp, 
which lay a mile west of Dunbar. As soon as I 
arrived at the town, I inquired for Colonel Gardiner, 
and went and visited him at Mr Pyot's the minister 
of the town, where he lodged. He received me with 
kindness, and invited me to dine with him at two 
o'clock, and to come to him a little before the hour. 
I went to him at half-past one, and he took me to 
walk in the garden. He looked pale and dejected, 
which I attributed to his bad health and the fatigue 
he had lately undergone. I began to ask him if he 
was not now quite satisfied with the junction of the 
foot with the dragoons, and confident that they would 
give account of the rebels. He answered dejectedly 
that he hoped it might be so, but — and then made a 
long pause. I said, that to be sure they had made a 


very hasty retreat ; " a foul flight," said he, " Sandie, 
and they have not recovered from their panic ; and I'll 
tell you in confidence that I have not above ten men 
in my regiment whom I am certain will follow me. 
But we must give them battle now, and God's will be 
done ! " 

We were called to dinner, where there was nobody 
but the family and Cornet Kerr, a kinsman of the 
colonel. He assumed an air of gaiety at dinner, and 
inquiring of me the adventures of the night, rallied 
me as a raw soldier in not taking up with the first 
good quarters I could get ; and when the approach- 
ing event was mentioned, spoke of victory as a thing 
certain, " if God were on our side." We sat very 
short time after dinner. The Colonel went to look 
after his regiment, and prepare them for to-morrow's 
march, and I to look out for my companions ; on find- 
ing them, it was agreed to return back to Linton, as 
between the dragoons and the concourse of strangers, 
there was not a bed to be had. We returned accord- 
ingly to Linton, and made good our quarters at the 
minister's, where we remained till the army passed 
in the morning on their route to Haddington. John 
Home had arrived at Dunbar on Wednesday, and 
said he had numbered the Highlanders, and thought 
they were about 1900 ; but that they were ill armed, 
though that defect was now supplied at Edinburgh. 
There were many of the Volunteers all night at Linton, 
whom we saw in the morning, and with whom we 
appointed to meet in an inn at Haddington. 


As the army passed about eleven or twelve, we 
joined them and marched along with them ; they took 
the hill road by Charteris Dykes ; and when we were 
about Beanston, I was accosted by Major Bowles, 
whom I knew, and who, desirous of some conversa- 
tion with me, made his servant dismount and give 
me his horse, which I gladly accepted of, being a good 
deal worn out with the fatigue of the preceding day. 
The major was completely ignorant of the state of the 
country and of the character of the Highlanders. I 
found him perfectly ignorant and credulous, and in 
the power of every person with whom he conversed. 
I was not acquainted with the discipline of armies ; 
but it appeared to me to be very imprudent to allow 
all the common people to converse with the soldiers 
on their march as they pleased, by which means their 
panic was kept up, and perhaps their principles cor- 
rupted. Many people in East Lothian at that time 
were Jacobites, and they were most forward to mix 
with the soldiers. The commons in general, as well 
as two-thirds of the gentry at that period, had no 
aversion to the family of Stuart ; and could their re- 
ligion have been secured, would have been very glad 
to see them on the throne again. 

Cope's small army sat down for the afternoon and 
night in an open field on the west side of Haddington. 
The Volunteers, to the number of twenty-five, assem- 
bled at the principal inn, where also sundry officers of 
dragoons and those on the staft' came for their dinner. 
While our dinner was preparing, an alarm was beat 


in the camp, which occasioned a great hurry-scurry 
in the courtyard with the officers taking their horses, 
which some of them did with no small reluctance, 
either through love of their dinner or aversion to the 
enemy. I saw Colonel Gardiner passing very slowly, 
and ran to him to ask what was the matter. He said 
it could be nothing but a false alarm, and would soon 
be over. The army, however, was drawn out imme- 
diately, and it was found to be a false alarm. The 
Honourable Francis Charteris had been married the 
day before, at Prestonhall, to Lady Francis Gordon, 
the Duchess of Gordon's daughter, who was supposed 
to favour the Pretender, though she had a large pen- 
sion from Government. How that might be nobody 
knew, but it was alleged that the alarm followed 
their coach, as they passed to their house at New 

After dinner. Captain Drummond came to us at 
the inn, to whom we unanimously gave a commission 
to apply to the general for arms to us, and to appoint 
us a station in the line, as we had not only our cap- 
tain, but one of our lieutenants with us. Drummond 
left us to make this application, but was very long in 
returning, and the answer he brought was not so 
agreeable. It was, that the General did not think we 
could be so serviceable by taking arms, as w^e might 
be in taking post-horses through the night, and re- 
connoitring the roads leading from the enemy towards 
our army, and bringing an account of what move- 
ments there were. This was agreed to after some 


hesitation, and sixteen of us were selected to go out, 
two and two — one set at eight in the evening, and 
another at twelve. Four of those were thought use- 
less, as there were only three roads that could be 
reconnoitred. I was of the first set, being chosen by 
Mr William ^I'Ghie as his companion, and we chose 
the road by the sea-coast, through Longniddry, Port- 
seaton, and Prestonpans, as that with which I was 
best acquainted. We set out not long after eight 
o'clock, and found everything perfectly quiet as we 
expected. At Prestonpans we called at my father's, 
and found that they had returned home on Wednes- 
day ; and having requested them to wait supper till 
our return, we rode on to Westpans, in the county of 
Midlothian, near Musselburgh ; and still meeting with 
nothing on which to report, we returned to supper at 
my father's. While we were there, an application 
was made to us by BaUie Hepburn, the baron bailie 
or magistrate of the place, against a young gentleman, 
a student of medicine, as he said, who had appeared 
in arms in the town, aud pretended that he wished to 
be conducted to Cope's army. We went down from 
the manse to a public-house, where this gentleman 
was confined. At the first glance, M'Ghie knew him 
to be a student, though not personally acquainted 
with him, and got him relieved immediately, and 
brought him up to supper. M'Ghie took all the pains 
he could to persuade this gentleman, whose name was 
Myrie, to attach himself to the Volunteers, and not to 
join the army ; but he would not be persuaded, and 


actually joined one of the regiments on their march 
next morning, and was sadly wounded at the battle. 

Francis Garden, afterwards Lord Gardenstone, and 
Robert Cunningham, afterwards the General in Ireland, 
followed Mr M'Ghie and me, and were taken prisoners, 
and not very well used. They had gone as far as 
Crystall's Inn, west of Musselburgh, and had sat with 
a window open after daylight at a regale of white wine 
and oysters, when they were observed by one of the 
Prince's Life Guards who was riding past, not in uni- 
form, but armed with pistols ; they took to their 
horses, when he, pretending to take them for rebels, 
they avowed they were King's men, and were taken to 
the camp at Duddingston. 

When M'Ghie and I returned to Haddington about 
one o'clock, all the beds were taken up, and we had to 
sleep in the kitchen on benches and chairs. To our 
regret we found that several Volunteers had single 
beds to themselves, a part of which we might have 
occupied. Sir John Cope and his army marched in 
the morning, I think, not till nine o'clock, and to my 
great surprise, instead of keeping the post-road through 
Tranent Muir, which was high ground and com- 
manded the country south for several miles, as it did 
that to the north for two or three miles towards the 
sea, they turned to the right by Elvingston and the 
village of Trabroun, till they past Longniddry on the 
north, and St Germains on the south, when, on en- 
tering the defile made by the enclosures there, they 
halted for near an hour, and then marched into the 


open field of two miles in length and one and a-half 
in breadth, extending from Seaton to Preston, and 
from Tranent Meadow to the sea. I understood after- 
wards that the General's intention was (if he had any 
will of his own) to occupy the field lying between 
Walliford, Smeaton, and Inveresk, where he would have 
had the river Esk running through deep banks in 
front, and the towns of Dalkeith and Musselburgh at 
hand to supply him with provisions. In this camp 
he could not have been surprised ; and in marching to 
this ground the road through Tranent was not more 
distant by 100 yards than that by Seaton. But they 
were too late in marching ; for when they camje to St 
Germains, their scouts, who were chiefly Lords Home 
and Loudon, brought them intellio;ence that the rebel 
army were on their march, on which, after an hour's 
halt, when, by turning to the left, they might have 
reached the high ground at Tranent before the rebels, 
they marched on to that plain before described, now 
called the field of battle. This field was entirely 
clear of the crop, the last sheaves having been carried 
in the night before; and neither cottage, tree, or bush 
were in its whole extent, except one solitary thorn 
bush which grew on the march between Seaton and 
Preston fields, around and near to which lay the great- 
est number of slain, and which remains there to this 
day, though the fields have been long since com- 
pletely enclosed. 

The army marched straight to the west end of this 
field till they came near the walls of the enclosures of 


Preston, which reached from the road leading from 
the village of Preston north to Tranent meadow and 
Banktown, down almost half-way to Prestonpans, to 
which town, from this enclosure, there was no inter- 
ruption; and the whole projections of those enclosures 
into the plain to the east were not above 300 yards. 
That part of it which belonged to Preston estate was 
divided into three shots, as they were called, or rigg 
lengths, the under shot, the middle, and the upper. A 
cart road for carrying out dung divided the two first, 
which lay gently sloping to the sea, from which it was 
separated by garden walls, and a large enclosure for 
a rabbit warren. The upper shot was divided from 
the middle one by a foot-path, and lay almost level, 
sloping almost imperceptibly to Tranent Meadow. This 
was properly the field of battle, which on account of 
the slope was not seen fully from the lower fields or 
the town. Near to those walls on the east the army 
formed their first line of battle fronting west. They 
were hardly formed, when the rebel army appeared on 
the high ground at Birsley, south-west of our army 
about a mile. On sight of them our army shouted. 
They drew nearer Tranent, and our army shifted a 
little eastward to front them. All this took place by 
one o'clock. 

Colonel Gardiner having informed the General and 
his staff that I was at hand to execute anything in 
my power for the good of the service, there was sent 
to me a message to inquire if I could provide a pro- 
per person to venture up to the Highland army, to 


make his observations, and particularly to notice if 
they had any cannon, or if they were breaking ground 
anywhere. With some difficulty I prevailed on my 
father's church-officer, a fine stout man, to make this 
expedition, which he did immediately. A little fur- 
ther on in the afternoon the same aide-de-camp, an 
uncle of Sir Ealph Abercrombie's, came to request 
me to keep a look-out from the top of the steeple, 
and observe if at any time any detachment from 
the main army was sent westwards. In the mean 
time the Highlanders lay with their right close to 
Tranent, and had detached some companies down to 
the churchyard, which was close by a waggon-way 
which led directly down to our army, and crossed 
the road leading between Preston and Seaton, where 
Cope's six or seven pieces of cannon were placed, not 
above a third of a mile distant from the church. As 
the Highlanders appeared north of the church in 
the churchyard, which was higher than the waggon- 
way, the cannon were fired, and dislodged them from 
thence. Not long after this, about four in the after- 
noon, the rebels made a movement to the westward of 
Birsley, where they had first appeared, and our army 
took their first position. Soon after this I observed 
from the steeple a large detachment of Highlanders, 
about 300 or 400, lodge themselves in what was called 
the Thorny Loan, which led from the west end of 
Preston to the village of Dolphingston to the south- 
west. I mounted my horse to make this known to 
the General, and met the aide-de-camp riding briskly 


down the field, and told him what I had seen. I im- 
mediately returned to my station in the steeple. As 
twilight approached, I observed that detachment with- 
drawn, and was going up the field to tell this when 
my doughty arrived, who was going to tell me his 
story how numerous and fierce the Highlanders were 
— -how keen for the fight — and how they would make 
but a breakfast of our men. I made him go with 
me to the General to tell his own story. In the 
mean time I visited Colonel Gardiner for a third time 
that day on his post, and found him grave, but serene 
and resigned ; and he concluded by praying God to 
bless me, and that he could not wish for a better night 
to lie on the field ; and then called for his cloak and 
other conveniences for lying down, as he said they 
would be awaked early enough in the morning, as he 
thought, by the countenance of the enemy, for they had 
now shifted their position to a sloping field east from 
the church, and were very near our army, with little 
more than the morass between. Coming down the field 
I asked my messenger if they had not paid him for 
his danger. Not a farthing had they given him, which 
being of a piece with the rest of the General's conduct, 
raised no sanguine hopes for to-morrow. I gave the 
poor fellow half-a-crown, which was half my substance, 
having delivered the gold to my father the night before. 
When I returned to my father's house, I found 
it crowded with strangers, some of them Volunteers, 
and some Merse clergymen, particularly Monteith and 
Laurie, and Pat. Simson. They were very noisy and 


boastful of tlieir achievements, one of them having 
the dracroon's broadsword who had fallen into the 
coal-pit, and the other the musket he had taken from 
a Highland soldier between the armies. Simson, 
who was cousin to Adam Drummond of Meginch, 
captain and paymaster in Lee's regiment, had a pair 
of saddle-bags intrusted to him, containing 400 guineas, 
which Patrick not imprudently gave to my father to 
keep all night for him, out of any danger of being 
plundered. Perceiving that there would be no room 
for me, without incommoding the strangers, I stole 
away to a neighbouring widow gentlewoman's, where 
I bespoke a bed, and returned to supper at my father's. 
But no sooner had I cut up the cold surloin which my 
mother had provided, than I fell fast asleep, having 
been much worn out with all the fatigues of the pre- 
ceding week. I retired directly. 

I directed the maid to awake me the moment the 
battle began, and fell into a profound sleep in an in- 
stant. I had no need to be awaked, though the maid 
was punctual, for I heard the first cannon that was 
fired, and started to my clothes ; which, as I neither 
buckled nor gartered, were on in a moment, and im- 
mediately went to my father's, not a hundred yards off. 
All the strangers were gone, and my father had been 
up before daylight, and had resorted to the steeple. 
While I was conversing with my mother, he returned 
to the house, and assured me of what I had guessed 
before, that we were completely defeated. I ran into 
the garden where there was a mount in the south-east 


corner, from which one coukl see the fields almost to 
the verge of that part where the battle was fought. 
Even at that time, which could hardly be more than ten 
or fifteen minutes after firing the first cannon, the 
whole prospect was filled with runaways, and High- 
landers pursuing them. Many had their coats turned 
as prisoners, but were still trying to reach the town in 
hopes of escaping. The pursuing Highlanders, when 
they could not overtake, fired at them, and I saw 
two fall in the glebe. By-and-by a Highland officer 
whom I knew to be Lord Elcho passed with his train, 
and had an air of savage ferocity that disgusted and 
alarmed. He inquired fiercely of me where a public- 
house was to be found ; I answered him very meekly, 
not doubting but that, if I had displeased him with my 
tone, his reply would have been with a pistol bullet. 

The crowd of wounded and dying now approached 
with all their followers, but their groans and agonies 
were nothing compared with the bowlings, and cries, 
and lamentations of the women, which suppressed man- 
hood and created despondency. Not long after the 
Duke of Perth appeared with his train, who asked me, 
in a very difi'erent tone, the way to Collector Cheap's, 
to which house he had ordered our wounded officers. 
Knowing the family were from home, I answered the 
questions of victorious clemency with more assurance 
of personal safety, than I had done to unappeased fury. 
I directed him the way to the house, which was hard 
by that where I had slept. 

The rebel army had before day marched in three 


divisions, one of which went straight down the waggon- 
way to attack our cannon, the other two crossed the 
Morass near Seaton House ; one of which marched 
north towards Port-Seaton, where the field is broadest, 
to attack our rear, but over-marched themselves, and 
fell in with a few companies that were guarding the 
baggage in a small enclosure near Cockenzie, and took 
the whole. The main body marched west through the 
plains, and just at the break of day attacked our army. 
After firing once, they run on with their broadswords, 
and our people fled. The dragoons attempted to 
charge, under Colonel Whitney, who was wounded, 
but wheeled immediately, and rode off through the 
defile between Preston and Bankton, to Dolphingston, 
half a mile off. Colonel Gardiner, with his division, 
attempted to charge, but was only followed by eleven 
men, as he had foretold, Cornet Kerr being one. He 
continued fighting, and had received several wounds, 
and was at last brought down by the stroke of a 
broadsword over the head. He was carried to the 
minister's house at Tranent, where he lived till next 
forenoon. His own house, which was nearer, was made 
an hospital for the Highlanders, no person of our army 
being carried there but the Master of Torphichen, who 
was so badly wounded that he could be sent to no 
greater distance. Some of the dragoons fled as far as 
Edinburgh, and one stood all day at the Castle-gate, 
as General Guest would not allow him to be taken in. 
A considerable body of dragoons met at Dolphingston 
immediately after the rout, little more than half a 


mile from the field, where Cope joined them ; and 
where it was said Lord Drummore offered to conduct 
them back, with assurance of victory when the High- 
landers were busy with the booty. But they could 
not be prevailed on by his eloquence no more than by 
the youthful ardour of Earls Home and Loudon. 
After a short halt, they marched over Falside Hill to 
Lauder. Sir Peter Halket, a captain in Lee's regi- 
ment, acted a distinguished part on this occasion ; for 
after the rout he kept his company together ; and get- 
ting behind a ditch in Tranent Meadow, he kept firing 
away on the rebels till they were glad to let him sur- 
render on terms. 

In the mean time my father became very uneasy 
lest I should be ill treated by the rebels, as they would 
discover that I had been a Volunteer in Edinburgh ; 
he therefore ordered the horses to be saddled, and 
telling me that the sea was out, and that we could 
escape by the shore without being seen, we mounted, 
taking a short leave of my mother and the young 
ones, and took the way he had pointed out. We 
escaped without interruption till we came to Port- 
seton harbour, a mile off, where we were obliged to 
turn up on the land, when my father observing a 
small party of Highlanders, who were pursuing two 
or three carts with baggage that were attempting to 
escape, and coming up with the foremost driver, Avho 
would not stop when called to, they shot him on the 
spot. This daunted my father, who turned imme- 
diately, and took the way we came. We were back 


again soon after, when, taking oflF my boots and put- 
ting on shoes, I had the appearance of a person who 
had not been abroad. I then proposed to go to Col- 
lector Cheap's house, where I understood there were 
twenty-three wounded officers, to offer my assistance 
to the surgeons, Cunningham and Trotter, the first of 
whom I knew. They were surgeons of the dragoons, 
and had surrendered that they might attend the 
officers. T\Tien I went in, I told Cimningham (after- 
wards the most eminent surgeon in Dublin) that I 
had come to offer them my services, as, though no 
suroreon, I had better hands than a common servant. 
They were obliged to me ; but the only service I could 
do to them was to try to find one of their medicine- 
chests among the baggage, as they could do nothing 
for want of instruments. I readily undertook this 
task, provided they would fui'nish me with a guard. 
This they hoped they could do ; and knocking at the 
door of an inner room, a Highland officer appeared, 
whom they called Captain Stewart. He was good-look- 
ing, grave, and of polished manners. He answered that 
he would soon find a proper conductor for me, and de- 
spatched a servant with a message. In the mean time 
I observed a very handsome young officer lying in an 
easy-chair in a faint, and seemingly dying. They 
led me to a chest of drawers, where there lay a piece 
of his skull, about two fingers' breadth and an inch and 
a-half long. I said, " This gentleman must die." " No," 
said Cuimingham, " the brain is not affected, nor any 
vital part : he has youth and a fine constitution on his 



side ; and could I but get my instruments, there 
would be no fear of him." This man was Captain 
Blake. Captain Stewart's messenger arrived with 
a fine, brisk, little, well-dressed Highlander, armed 
cap-a-pie with pistols, and dirk, and broadsword. 
Captain Stewart gave him his orders, and we set 
off immediately. 

Never did any young man more perfectly display 
the boastful temper of a raw soldier, new to conflict 
and victory, than this Highland warrior. He said he 
had that morning been armour-bearer to the Duke of 
Perth, whose valour was as conspicuous as his cle- 
mency ; that now there was no doubt of their final 
success, as the Almighty had blessed them with this 
almost bloodless victory on their part ; that He had 
made the sun to shine upon them uninterruptedly 
since their first setting out ; that no brawling woman 
had cursed, nor even a dog had barked at them ; that 
not a cloud had interposed between them and the 

blessings of Heaven, and that this happy morning 

here he was interrupted in his harangue by observing 
in the street a couple of grooms leading four fine 
blood-horses. He drew a pistol from his belt,, and 
darted at the foremost in a moment. " Who are you, 
sir? and where are you going? and whom are you seek- 
ing'?" It was answered with an uncovered head and 
a dastardly tone, " I am Sir John Cope's coachman, and 
I am seeking my master." " You'll not find him here, 
sir, but you and your man and your horses are my 
prisoners. Go directly to the Collector's house, and 


put up your horses in the stable, and wait till I return 
from a piece of public service. Do this directly, as 
you regard your lives/' They instantly obeyed. A 
few paces further on he met an officer's servant with 
two handsome geldings and a large and full clothes- 
bag. Similar questions and answers were made, and 
we found them all in the place to which they were 
ordered, on our return. 

It was not long before we arrived at Cockenzie, 
where, under the protection of my guard, I had an 
opportunity of seeing this victorious army. In gene- 
ral they were of low stature and dirty, and of a con- 
temptible appearance. The officers with whom I 
mixed were gentleman-like, and very civil to me, as I 
was on an errand of humanity. I was conducted to 
Locheil, who was polished and gentle, and who ordered 
a soldier to make all the inquiry he could about the 
medicine-chests of the dragoons. After an hour's 
search, we returned without finding any of them, nor 
were they ever afterwards recovered. This view I 
had of the rebel army confirmed me in the prepos- 
session that nothing but the weakest and most un- 
accountable bad conduct on our part could have 
possibly given them the victory. God forbid that 
Britain should ever again be in dano-er of being over- 
run by such a despicable enemy, for, at the best, the 
Highlanders were at that time but a raw militia, who 
were not cowards. 

On our return from looking for the medicine-chests, 
we saw walking on the sea-shore, at the east end of 


Prestonpans, all the officers who were taken prisoners. 
I then saw human nature in its most abject form, for 
almost every aspect bore in it shame, and dejection, 
and despair. They were deeply mortified with what 
had happened, and timidly anxious about the future, 
for they were doubtful whether they were to be treated 
as prisoners of war or as rebels. I ventured to speak 
to one of them, who was nearest me, a Major Severn ; 
for Major Bowles, my acquaintance, was much wounded, 
and at the Collector's. He answered some questions I 
put to him with civility, and I told him what errand 
I had been on, and with what humanity I had seen 
the wounded officers treated, and ventured to assert 
that the prisoners would be well used. The confi- 
dence with which I spoke seemed to raise his spirits, 
which I completed by saying that nothing could have 
been expected but what had happened, when the foot 
were so shamefully deserted by the dragoons. 

Before we got back to the Collector's house, the 
wounded officers were all dressed ; Captain Blake's 
head was trepanned, and he was laid in bed, for they 
had got instruments from a surgeon who lived in the 
town, of whom I had told Cunningham ; and they 
were ordered up to Bankton, Colonel Gardiner's house, 
where the wounded Highlanders were, and also the 
Honourable Mr Sandilands. Two captains of ours had 
been killed outright besides Gardiner — viz. Captain 
Stewart of Physgill, whose wife was my relation, and 
who has a monument for him erected in the church- 
yard of Prestonpans by his father-in-law, Patrick 


Heron of Heron, Esq. ; the other was Captain Brymer 
of Edrom, in the Merse. 

While we were breakfasting at my father's, some 
young friends of mine called, among whom was James 
Dunlop, junr., of Garnkirk, my particular acquaint- 
ance at Glasgow. He and his companions had ridden 
through the field of battle, and being well acquainted 
with the Highland chiefs, assured us there was no 
danger, as they were civil to everybody. My father, 
who was impatient till he saw me safe, listened to 
this, and immediately ordered the horses. We rode 
through the field of battle where the dead bodies still 
lay, between eleven and twelve o'clock, mostly stript. 
There were about two hundred, we thought. There 
were only slight guards and a few straggling boys. 
We rode along the field to Seaton, and met no inter- 
ruption till we came close to the village, when four 
Highlanders darted out of it, and cried in a wild tone, 
presenting their pieces, "Fourich, fourichl" {i.e. Stop, 
stop !) By advice of our Glasgow friends we stopped, 
and gave them shillings a-piece, with which they 
were heartily contented. We parted with our friends 
and rode on, and got to Mr Hamilton's, minister of 
Bolton, a solitary place at a distance from any road, 
by two o'clock, and remained there all day. My fa- 
ther, having time to recollect himself, fell into a new 
anxiety, for he then called to mind that, besides 
sundry watches and purses which he had taken to 
keep, he also had Pat. Simson's four hundred guineas. 
After many proposals and projects, and among the 


rest my earnest desire to return alone, it was at last 
agreed to write a letter in I^atin to John Ritchie the 
schoolmaster, afterwards minister of Abercorn, and 
instruct him how to go at night and secrete the 
watches and purses if still there, and bury the saddle- 
bags in the garden. Ritchie was also requested to 
come to us next day. 

My father and Mr Hamilton carried on the work 
of that day, Sunday, with zeal, and not only prayed 
fervently for the King, but warned the people against 
being seduced by appearances to believe that the 
Lord was with the rebels, and that their cause would 
in the end be prosperous. But no sooner had we 
dined than my father grew impatient to see my 
mother and the children, Ritchie having written by 
the messenger that all was quiet. He wanted to go 
alone, but that I could not allow. We set out in due 
time, and arrived before it was dark, and found the 
family quite well, and my mother in good spirits. 
She was naturally strong-minded, and void of ima- 
ginary fears ; but she had received comfort from the 
attention paid to her, for Captain Stewart, by the 
Duke of Perth's order, as he said, gave one of his 
ensigns, a Mr Brydone, a particular charge of our 
family, and ordered him to call upon her at least twice 

We soon began to think of my father's charge of 
watches and money ; and when it was dark enough 
I went into the garden to look for the place where 
Ritchie had buried the saddle-bags. This was no 


difficult search, for he had written us that they were 
below a particular pear-tree. To be sure, he had buried 
the treasure, but he had left the leather belts by which 
they were fixed fully above ground, so that if the 
Highlanders had been of a curious or prowling dis- 
position, they must have discovered this important 

Soon after this Eitchie arrived. He had set out 
for Bolton early in the afternoon ; but taking a dif- 
ferent road, that was nearer for people on foot, he did 
not meet us, and had returned immediately. On set- 
ting out, not twenty yards from the manse of Preston- 
pans, he was stopped by a single Highlander, who 
took from him all the money that he had, which was 
six shillings ; but as he spared his watch, he was con- 
tented. Not long after came in ray mother's guard. 
Ensign Brydone, a well-looking, sweet-tempered young 
man, about twenty years of age. He was Captain 
Stewart's ensign. Finding all the family assembled 
again, he resisted my mother's faint invitation to 
supper. She replied that as he was her guard, she 
hoped he would come as often as he could. He pro- 
mised to breakfast with us next morning. He came 
at the hour appointed, nine o'clock. My mother's 
custom was to mask the tea before morning prayer, 
which she did ; and soon after my father came into 
the room he called the servants to prayers. We knelt 
down, when Brydone turning awkwardly, his broad- 
sword swept off the table a china plate with a roll of 
butter on it. Prayer being ended, the good lady did 


not forget her plate, but, taking it up whole, she 
said, smiling, and with a curtsy, " Captain Brydone, 
this is a good omen, and I trust our cause will be 
as safe in the end from your army as my plate 
has been from the sweep of your sword." The young 
man bowed, and sat down to breakfast and ate 
heartily ; but I afterwards thought that the bad 
success of his sword and my mother's application 
had made him thoughtful, as Highlanders are very 

During the rest of the week, while I remained 
at home, finding him very ignorant of history and 
without political principles, unless it was a blind 
attachment to the chief, I thought I convinced 
him, in the many walks I had with him, that his 
cause would in the end be unsuccessful. I learned 
afterwards, that though he marched with them to 
England, he retired before the battle of Falkirk, 
and appeared no more. He was a miller's son near 
Drummond Castle. 

On Tuesday, and not sooner, came many young 
surgeons from Edinburgh to dress the wounded sol- 
diers, most of whom lay on straw in the schoolroom. 
As almost all their wounds were with the broadsword, 
they had suffered little. The surgeons returned to 
Edinburgh in the evening, and came back again for 
three days. As one of them was Colin Sirason, a 
brother of Patrick's, the clergyman at Fala, and ap- 
prentice to Adam Drummond their uncle, we trust- 
ed him and his companions with the four hundred 


guineas, which at dijfferent times they carried in their 
pockets and delivered safe to Captain Adam Drum- 
mond of Megginch, then a prisoner in Queensberry 
House in the Canongate. 

I remained at home all this week, about the end of 
which my friend William Seller came from Edinburgh 
to see me, and pressed me much to come to Edin- 
burgh and stay with him at his father's house. Hav- 
ing several things to purchase to prepare for my 
voyage to Holland, I went to town on the following 
Monday, and remained with him till Thursday. Be- 
sides his father and sisters, there lodged in the house 
Mr Smith, and there came also to supper every night 
his son, afterwards Mr Seton of Touch, having mar- 
ried the heiress of that name. As Prince Charles 
had issued a proclamation allowing all the Volunteers 
of Edinburgh three weeks, during which they might 
pay their court to him at the Abbey, and receive a 
free pardon, I went twice down to the Abbey Court 
with my friend about twelve o'clock, to wait till the 
Prince should come out of the Palace and mount 
his horse to ride to the east side of Arthur Seat to 
visit his army. I had the good fortune to see him 
both days, one of which I was close by him when he 
walked through the guard. He was a good-looking 
man, of about five feet ten inches ; his hair was dark 
red, and his eyes black. His features were regular, 
his visage long, much sunburnt and freckled, and his 
countenance thoughtful and melancholy. He mounted 
his horse and rode off through St Ann's Yards and 


the Duke's Walk to his army. There was no crowd 
after him — about three or four hundred each day. By 
that time curiosity had been satisfied. 

In the house where I lived they were all Jacobites, 
and I heard much of their conversation. When young 
Seller and I retired from them at night, he agreed 
with me that they had less ground for being so san- 
guine and upish than they imagined. The court at 
the Abbey was dull and sombre — the Prince was 
melancholy ; he seemed to have no confidence in any- 
body, not even in the ladies, w^ho were much his 
friends ; far less had he the spirit to venture to the 
High Church of Edinburgh and take the sacrament, 
as his great uncle Charles II. had done the Cove- 
nant, which would have secured him the low-country 
commons, as he already had the Highlanders by at- 
tachment. He was thought to have loitered too long 
at Edinburgh, and, without doubt, had he marched 
immediately to Newcastle, he might have distressed 
the city of London not a little. But besides that his 
army wanted clothing and necessaries, the victory at 
Preston put an end to his authority. He had not a 
mind fit for command at any time, far less to rule the 
Highland chiefs in prosperity. 

I returned to Prestonpans on Thursday, and as I 
was to set out for Newcastle on Monday to take ship- 
ping for Holland, I sent to Captain Blake, Avho was 
recovering well, to tell him that if he had any letters 
for Berwick, I would take charge of them. He prayed 
me to call on him immediately. He said he was 


quite well, and complained of nothing but the pain of 
a little cut he had got on one of his fino-ers. He said 
he would trouble me with a letter to a friend at 
Berwick, and that it would be ready on Saturday at 
four o'clock, when he begged I would call on him. I 
went at the hour, and found him dressed and looking 
weU, with a small table and a bottle and glasses be- 
fore him. " What!" says I ; " Captain Blake, are you 
allowed to drink wine 1 " " Yes," said he, " and as I 
expected you, I postponed my few glasses till I should 
drink to your good journey." To be sure, we drank 
out the bottle of claret ; and when I sent to inquire 
for him on Sunday, he said he had slept better than 
ever. I never saw this man more ; but I heard he 
had sold out of the army, and was married. In 
spring 1800, when the E^ng was very ill, and in 
danger, I observed in the papers that he had left a 
written message, mentioning the wounds he had re- 
ceived at the battle of Preston. On seeing this, I 
wrote to him as the only living witness who could 
attest the truth of his note left at St James's. I had 
a letter from him dated the 1st of March that year, 
written in high spirits, and inviting me to Great 
George Street, Westminster, where he hoped we would 
uncork a bottle with more pleasure than we had done 
in 1745, but to come soon, for he was verging on 
eighty-one. He died this spring, 1802. 


1745-1746: AGE, 21-22. 











On Monday morning, the 9t\i of October, old style, 
my father and I set out for Newcastle on horseback, 
where we arrived on Wednesday to dinner. Having 
secured my passage on board a small vessel going to 
Rotterdam, that was to sail whenever there was a 
convoy, we rode to Sunderland to visit some emigrants 
whom we understood were there, and found old George 
Buchan and his brother-in-law, Mr William Grant, 
afterwards Lord Advocate, and Lord Prestongrange. 
We dined with them, and were told that Lord Drum- 
more and many others of our friends had taken up 
their residence at Bishop Auckland, where they wished 

NEWCASTLE IN 1745. 157 

to have been had there been room. Next day my 
father and the servant set out on their journey home, 
and I having been acquainted \yith some of the Com- 
mon Council of Newcastle, was invited to dine with 
the mayor at one of their guild dinners. A Mr 
Fen wick, I think, was mayor that year. I was seated 
at the end of one of the long tables in the same room, 
next Mr John Simpson, afterwards Aldennan Simpson, 
sheriff of Newcastle for that year. As I was fresh from 
Scotland, I had to answer all the questions that were 
put to me concerning the affairs of that country, and 
I saw my intelligence punctually detailed in the 
Neivcastle Journal next morning. Of that company 
there was one gentleman, a wine merchant, who was 
alive in the year 1797 or 1798 ; when happening to 
dine with the mayor, the subject was talked of, and 
he recollected it perfectly. 

At the inn where I slept I met with my companion 
Bob Cunninorham, w^ho had been a Volunteer in Edin- 
burgh, and with Francis Garden, who had been taken 
prisoner by the rebels, as narrated in Home's History.* 
He and I supped together one of the nights. He was 
studying law ; but his father being an officer, and 
at that time Lieutenant of Stirling Castle, he had a 
military turn, which was heightened by the short 
campaign he had made. He resented the bad usage 

* The incident is mentioned above, p. 136. Francis Garden was raised to 
the bench in 1764, when he took the title of Lord Gardenstone : he was author 
of misceUanies in prose and verse, and travelling memorandiuns. The im- 
mediately following sentences might seem to refer to him, but they are 
intended to refer to Cunningham. — Ed. 

158 SHIELDS IN 1745. 

his father's nephew, Murray of Broughton, the Pre- 
tender's Secretary, had given him during the day he 
was a captive, and wa? determined to become a volun- 
teer in some regiment till the rebellion was suppressed ; 
but expressed a strong abhorrence at the subordina- 
tion in the army, and the mortifications to which it 
exposed a man. I argued that he ought either to 
return immediately to his studies, or fix on the army 
for his profession, and stated the difference between 
modern armies and those of Greece and Eome, with 
which his imagination was fired, where a man could 
be a leading citizen and a great general at the same 
time. He debated on this point till two in the morn- 
ing, and though he did not confess he was convinced, 
he went into the army immediately, and rose till he 
became a general of horse in Ireland. He was, at the 
time I met him, very handsome, and had an enlight- 
ened and ardent mind. He went to Durham next 
morning, and I never saw him more. 

On the Tuesday I was summoned to go down to 
Shields, as the sloop had fallen down there, and was to 
sail immediately with the London convoy. I went 
down accordingly, and had to live for six days with 
the rude and ignorant masters of colliers. There was 
one army surgeon of the name of Allan, a Stirling 
man, who had taken his passage, and had some con- 
versation. At last, on Monday the 1 4th of October, 
I went on board the "Blagdon" of Newcastle, Tim 
Whinny, master, who boasted that his vessel had 
ridden out the great storm of January 29, 1739, at 

YARMOUTH IN 1745. 159 

the back of Inchkeith. She was loaded with kits of 
butter and glass bottles. I was the only passenger. 
There was, besides the master, a mate, an old sailor, 
and two boys. As we let the great ships go out 
before us, it was night almost before we got over the 

Next day, the weather being calm and moderate, 
we had an asreeable sail along the coast of Yorkshire : 
in the evening, however, the gale rose, separated the 
fleet of about eighty sail, and drove us off shore. 
We passed a dreary night with sickness, and not 
without fear, for the idle boys had mislaid things, and 
it was two hours before the hatches could be closed. 
The gale abated in the morning, and about mid-day 
we made for the coast again, but did not come in 
with the land till two o'clock, when we descried the 
Norfolk coast, and saw many ships making for Yar- 
mouth. About ten at night we came up with them, 
and found them to be part of the fleet w4th which we 
had sailed from Shields. Next day, Friday the 18th, 
we came into Yarmouth Roads, when the master and 
I went ashore in the boat. The master was as much 
a stranger there as I was, for though he had been 
often in the roads, he had never gone ashore. This 
town is handsome, and lies in a singular situation. 
It stands on a flat plain, about a quarter of a mile 
from the sea. It is an oblong square, about a mile in 
length, and a third part as broad. The whole length 
is intersected by three streets, which are rather too 
narrow. That nearest is weU built, and lands on the 

160 YARMOUTH IN 1745. 

marketplace to the north, which is very spacious, and 
remarkably well provided with every kind of vivres 
for the pot and the spit. 

The market-women are clean beyond example, and 
the butchers themselves dressed with great neatness 
indeed. In short, there was nothing to offend the 
eye or any of the senses in Yarmouth market. Very 
genteel-looking women were providing for their fami- 
lies. But the quay, which is on the west side of the 
town, and lies parallel to the beach, is the most remark- 
able thing about the town, though there is a fine 
old Gothic church in the marketplace, with a very 
lofty steeple, the spire of which is crooked, and like- 
wise a fine modern chapel-of-ease in the street lead- 
ing to it. The quay is a mile long, and is formed by 
a river, the mouth of which, above a mile distant at 
the village of Gorelston, forms the harbour. The 
largest colliers can deliver their goods at the quay, 
and the street behind it has only one row of the 
handsomest houses in the town. As the master and 
I knew nobody, we went into the house of a Eobin 
Sad, at the sign of the Three Kings, who, standing at 
his own door near the south end of the quay, had such 
an inviting aspect and manner that I could not resist 
him. His house was perhaps not second-best, but it 
was cleanly, and I staid two nights with him. He enter- 
tained me much, for he had been several years a mate 
in the Mediterranean in his youth, and was vain and 
boastful, and presumptuous and ignorant, to my great 

YARMOUTH IX 1745. 161 

In the evening two men had come into the house 
and drank a pot or two of ale. He said they were 
custom-house officers, and was ill-pleased, as they did 
not use to frequent his house, but they had come into 
the common room on hearing of my being in the 
house ; and though they sat at a distance from the fire- 
place, where the landlord and I were, they could hear 
our conversation. Next morning, after nine, they 
came again, and with many apologies, addressing them- 
selves to me, said they had orders from the Commis- 
sioners to inquire my name and designation, as they 
understood I was going beyond sea to Holland. I had 
no scruple in writing it down to them. They returned 
in half an hour, and told me that they were ordered 
to carry me before the Lord Mayor. I went accord- 
ingly down to Justice Hall, where I waited a little 
while in an ante-chamber, and overheard my landlord 
Sad under examination. He was very high and resent- 
ful in his answers, and had a tone of contempt for men 
who, he said, were unfit to rule, as they did not know 
the value of any coins but those of England. He 
answered with a still more saucy pride, when they 
asked him what expense I made, and in the end told 
them exultingly that I had ordered him to buy the 
best goose in the market for to-morrow's dinner. I was 
called in and examined. The Mayor was an old grey- 
headed man, of a mild address. He had been a common 
fisher, and had become very rich, though he coidd not 
write, but signed his name with a stamp. After my 
examination, under which I had nothing to conceal, 


162 YARMOUTH IN 1745. 

they told me, as I was going abroad, they were obliged 
to tender me the oaths or detain me. I objected to 
that, as they had no ground of suspicion, and offered 
to show them my diploma as Master of Arts of the 
University of Edinburgh, and a Latin letter from the 
University of Glasgow to any Foreign University 
where I might happen to go. They declined looking 
at them, and insisted on my taking the oaths, which 
accordingly were administered, and I was dismissed. 
I did not know that the habeas corpus was not then 
suspended, and that if they had detained me I could 
have recovered large expenses from them. I amused 
myself in town till the master came on shore, when, 
after dinner, we walked down to Gorleston, the har- 
bour at the mouth of the river, where we heard of 
three vessels which were to sail without convoy, on 
Monday, with the ebb tide. 

I staid this night with landlord Sad, and invited 
the master to dine with us next day, being Sunday, 
when we were to have our fine goose roasted. I went 
in the morning to their fine chapel, which was paneled 
with mahogany, and saw a very populous audience. 
The service and the sermon were but so so. Tim 
Whinny came in good time, and we were on board by 
four o'clock, and fell down opposite the harbour of 
Gorleston. As the three colliers which were to venture 
over to Holland without convoy were bound for a 
different port from Helvoet, w^hich was our object, our 
master spent all the morning of Monday making 
inquiry for any ship that was going where we were 


bound, and ranged the coast down as far as Lowestoff 
for this purpose, but was disappointed. This made us so 
late of sailing, that the three ships which took through 
the gat or opening between sand-banks, were almost 
out of sicjht before we ventured to sail. Tim's caution 
was increased by his having his whole property on 
board, which he often mentioned. At last, after a 
solemn council on the quarter-deck, where I gave my 
voice strongly for our immediate departure, we followed 
the track of the three ships, the last of which was still 
in sight ; and having a fine night, with a fair breeze of 
wind, we came within sight of land at ten o'clock 
next day. The shore is so flat, and the country so 
level, that one sees nothing on approaching it but 
tops of steeples and masts of ships. Early in the 
afternoon I got on shore at Helvoet, on the island 
of Voom, and put up at an English house, where one 
Fell was the landlord. 

There I saw the first specimen of Dutch cleanli- 
ness, so little to be expected in a small seaport. As 
I wished to be as soon as I could at Rotterdam, I 
quitted my friend Tim Whinny to come up at his 
leisure, and went on board the Rotterdam schuyt at 
nine in the morning, and arrived there in a few hours. 
The beauty of this town, and of the river Maas that 
flows by it and forms its harbour, is well known. 
The sight of the Boompjes, and of the canals that 
carry shipping through the whole town, surprised and 
pleased me much. I had been directed to put up at 
Caters, an English house, where I took up my lodg- 


ings accordingly, and adhered to it in the two or 
three trips 1 made afterwards to this city, and found 
it an exceeding good house, where the expense was 
moderate, and everything good. In the afternoon I 
inquired for Mr Kobert Herries, on whom I had my 
credit, and found his house on the Scotch Dyke, after 
passing in the doit-boat over the canal that separates 
it from the end of the Boompjes. 

From Mr Herries I met with a very kind reception. 
He was a handsome young man, of a good family in 
Ann an dale, who had not succeeded in business at 
Dumfries, and had been sent over by my uncle Pro- 
vost George Bell, of that town, as their agent and 
factor — as at that time they dealt pretty deep in the 
tobacco trade. He had immediately assimilated to 
the manners of the Dutch, and was much respected 
among them. He lived in a very good house, with a 
Mr Eobertson and his wife from Aberdeen — very sen- 
sible, good sort of people. They took very much to 
me, and insisted on my dining with them every day. 
Next door to them lived a Mr Livingston, from Aber- 
deen also, who was thought to be rich. His wife was 
the daughter of Mr Kennedy, one of the ministers of 
the Scotch Church. She was a very handsome and 
agreeable woman ; and neither of the ladies having 
children, they had little care, and lived a very sociable 
and pleasant life, especially my landlady, whose at- 
tractions consisted chiefly in good sense and good 
temper. Our neighbour being young and gay as well as 
handsome, had not quite so much liberty. Mr Herries 


and liis friends advised me to remain some days with 
them, because, our king's birthday having happened 
lately, the British students were to have a grand enter- 
tainment, and it was better for me to escape the ex- 
pense that might be incurred by going there too soon. 
Besides, I had to equip myself in clothes, and with a 
sword and other necessaries, with which I could be 
better and cheaper supplied at Rotterdam than at 
Leyden. I took their advice, and they were so oblig- 
ing as to have new company for me every day, among 
whom were Mess. Kennedy, and" Ainslie his colleague ; 
the first was popular, and pompous, and political, and 
an Irishman. The second was a plain, sensible Scotch- 
man, less sought after, but more respectable than his 
colleague. During my stay at Rotterdam I was in- 
formed of everything, and saw eveiything that was 
new or curious. 

Travelling in Holland by means of the canals is 
easy and commodious ; and though the country is so 
flat that one can see to no distance, yet the banks of 
the canals, especially as you approach the cities, are 
so much adorned with pleasure-houses and flower- 
gardens as to furnish a constant succession, not of the 
grand and sublime or magnificent works of nature, 
but of a profusion of the rich and gaudy effects of 
opulence without taste. When I arrived at Leyden, 
which was in a few hours, I found my lodgings ready, 
having had a correspondence from Rotterdam with 
Thomas Dickson, M.D., afterwards my brother-in-law. 
They were in the house of a ^Madame Yandertasse, 

166 LEYDEN. 

on the Long Bridge. There were in her house besides, 
Dr Dickson, Dr John Gregory, Mr Nicholas Monckly, 
and a Mr Skirrat, a student of law. Vandertasse's 
was an established lodging-house, her father and 
mother having carried on that business, so that we 
lived very well there at a moderate rate — that is, 
sixteen stivers for dinner, two for coffee, six for 
supper and for breakfast. She was a lively little 
Frenchwoman, about thirty -six, had been tolerably 
well-looking, and was plump and in good condition. 
As she had only one' maid-servant, and five gentle- 
men to provide for, she led an active and laborious 
life ; insomuch that she had but little time for her 
toilet, except in the article of the coif, which no 
Frenchwoman omits. But on Sundays, when she 
had leisure to dress herself for the French Church, 
either in the morning or evening, then who but 
Mademoiselle Vandertasse ! She spoke English per- 
fectly well, as the guests of the house had been mostly 

As I had come last, I had the worst bed-chamber. 
Besides board, we paid pretty high for our rooms, and 
dearest of all for fuel, which was chiefly peat. We 
had very good small claret at a shilling a bottle, giv- 
ing her the benefit of our exemption from town duty 
for sixty stoups of wine for every student. Our house 
was in high repute for the best cofi'ee, so that our 
friends were pleased when they were invited to par- 
take with us of that delicious beverage. We had no 
company to dinner ; but in the evenings about a 


dozen of us met at one another's rooms in turn three 
times a-week, and drank coffee, and smoked tobacco, 
and chatted about politics, and drank claret, and 
supped on bukkam (Dutch red-herrings), and eggs, 
and salad, and never sat later than twelve o'clock — 
at Mr Gowan's, the clergyman, never later than ten, 
unless when we deceived him by making such a noise 
when the hour was ringing as prevented his hear- 
ing it. 

Though I had not been acquainted with John 
Gregory formerly, which was owing to my two 
winters' residence at Glasgow when he was in Edin- 
burgh, yet, as he knew most of my friends there, we 
soon became intimate together, and generally passed 
two hours every forenoon in walking. His friend 
Monckly being very fat, and a bad walker, could not 
follow us. There were at this time about twenty- 
two British students at Ley den, of whom, besides the 
five at our house already named, were the Honourable 
Charles Towmshend, afterwards a distinguished states- 
man and husband to Lady Dalkeith, the mother of 
the Duke of Buccleuch ; Mr James Johnston, junior, 
of Westerhall ; Dr Anthony Askew ; John Campbell, 
junior, of Stonefield ; his tutor Mr Morton, afterwards 
a professor at St Andrews ; John Wilkes, his companion 
Mr Bland, and their tutor Mr Lyson ; Mr Freeman 
from Jamaica ; Mr Doddeswell, afterwards Chancellor 
of the Exchequer ; ^Ir Wetherell from the \Yest 
Indies ; Dr Charles Congalton, to this day physician 
in Edinburgh ; an Irish gentleman, Keefe, I think, in 

168 LEYDEN. 

his house ; Willie Gordon, afterwards K.B., with four 
or five more, whose names I have forgot, and who did 
not associate with my friends. 

On the first Sunday evening I was in Leyden, I 
walked round the Cingle — a fine walk on the outside 
of the Rhine, which formed the wet ditch of the town — 
with John Gregory, who introduced me to the British 
students as we met them, not without giving me a 
short character of them, which I found in general a 
very just outline. When we came to John Wilkes, 
whose ugly countenance in early youth was very strik- 
ing, I asked earnestly who he was. His answer was, 
that he was the son of a London distiller or brewer, 
who wanted to be a fine gentleman and man of taste, 
which he could never be, for God and nature had 
been against him. 1 came to know Wilkes very well 
afterwards, and found him to be a sprightly enter- 
taining fellow — too much so for his years, as he was 
but eighteen ; for even then he showed something of 
daring profligacy, for which he was afterwards noto- 
rious. Though he was fond of learning, and passion- 
ately desirous of being thought something extraor- 
dinary, he was unlucky in having an old ignorant 
pedant of a dissenting parson for his tutor. This 
man, a Mr Leeson or Lyson, had been singled out by 
the father as the best tutor in the world for his most 
promising son, because, at the age of threescore, after 
studying controversy for more than thirty years, he 
told his congregation that he was going to leave them, 
and would tell them the reason next Sunday; when, 


being fiilly convened, he told them that, with much 
anxiety and care, he had examined the Arian contro- 
versy, and was now convinced that the creed he had 
read to them as his creed was false, and that he had 
now adopted that of the Arians, and was to bid them 
farewell. The people were shocked with this creed, 
and not so sorry as they would otherwise have been 
to part with him, for he was a good-natured well- 
meaning man. His chief object seemed to be to make 
Wilkes an Arian also, and he teased him so much 
about it that he was obliged to declare that he did 
not believe the Bible at all, which produced a quarrel 
between them, and Wilkes, for refuge, went frequently 
to Utrecht, where he met with Immateriality Baxter, 
as he was called, who then attended Lord Blantyre 
and Mr Hay of Drummellier, as he had formerly done 
Lord John Gray. 

This gentleman was more to Wilkes's taste than 
his own tutor ; for though he was a profound philo- 
sopher and a hard student, he was at the same time 
a man of the world, and of such pleasing conversa- 
tion as attracted the young. Baxter was so much 
pleased with Wilkes that he dedicated one of his 
pieces to him. He died in 1750, which fact leads 
me to correct an error in the account of Baxter's 
life, in which he is much praised for his keeping well 
with Wilkes, though he had given so much umbrage 
to the Scotch. But this is a gross mistake, for the 
people of that nation were always Wilkes's favourites 
till 1763, thirteen years after Baxter's death, when he 

170 LEYDEN. 

became a violent party-writer, and wished to raise his 
fame and fortune on the ruin of Lord Bute.* 

Wilkes was very fond of shining in conversation 
very prematurely, for at that time he had but little 
knowledge except what he derived from Baxter in 
his frequent visits to Utrecht. In the art of shining, 
however, he was much outdone by Charles Town- 
shend, who was not above a year older, and had still 
less furniture in his head ; but then his person and 
manners were more engaging. He had more wit and 
humour, and a turn for mimicry ; and, above all, had 
the talent of translating other men's thoughts, which 
they had produced in the simple style of conversation, 
into the most charming language, which not only took 
the ear but elevated the thoughts. No person I ever 
knew nearly equalled Charles Townshend in this talent 
but Dr Eobertson, who, though he had a very great 
fund of knowledge and thought of his own, was yet 
so passionately fond of shining, that he seized what 
was nearest at hand — the conversation of his friends 
of that morning or the day before — and embellished 

* The friendship here alludefl to is interesting, as affording evidence that 
Wilkes had been able to attach to himself at least one virtuous and en- 
lightened friend. Baxter afterwards wrote to him thus: "We talked 
much on this, you may remember, in the capuchin's garden at Spa. I 
have finished the Prima Cura ; it is in the dialogue way, and design to 
inscribe it to my dear John Wilkes, whom, under a borrowed name, I have 
made one of the interlocutors. If you are against this whim (which a 
passionate love for you has made me conceive), I \\ill drop it." — Wilkes's 
Corresjmndence, i. 15. Wilkes does not a})iiear to have been against this 
whim. The "Appendix to the First Part of the Inquiry into the Nature 
of the Human Soul" appeared in 1750, within a few months after this letter 
was ^vritten. Its author did not live to see it j)rinted, but it contains the 
dedication. — Ed. 


it with such rich language, that they hardly knew it 
again themselves, insomuch that he was the greatest 
plagiary in conversation that ever I knew. It is to 
this, probably, that his biographer alludes (his strong 
itch for shining) when he confesses he liked his con- 
versation best when he had not an audience.* 

Gregory's chum, Dr Monckly, had this talent too, 
and exercised it so as to bring on him the highest 
ridicule. He was in reality an ignorant vain block- 
head, who had the most passionate desire of shining, 
which Gregory was entirely above. His usual method 
was to get Gregory into his room, either before or 
after breakfast, when he settled with him what were 
to be the leading topics of the day, especially at our 
coffee parties and our club suppers, for we soon broke 
him of his attempt to shine at dinner. Having thus 
settled everything with Gregory, and heard his opin- 
ion, he let hiTn go a-walking with me, and jotted down 
the topics and arguments he had heard. The very 
prospect of the glory he was to earn in the evening 
made him contented and happy all day, Gregory 
kept his secret as I did, who was generally let into it 
in our walk, and prayed not to contradict the fat 
man, which I seldom did when he was not too pro- 

• In allasion evidently to the following passage in Dugald Stewart's 
account of the life and writings of Robertson. ^Ed. "In the company of 
strangers he increased his exertions to amuse and inform ; and the splendid 
variety of his conversation was commonly the chief circumstance on which 
they dwelt in enumerating his talents ; and yet I must acknowledge, for 
my own j)art, that much as I always admired his powers, when they were 
thus called forth, I enjoyed his society less than when 1 saw him in the 
circle of his intimates, or in the bosom of his family. ' ' 

172 LEYDEN. 

yoking. Unfortunately, one night Gregory took it into 
his head to contradict him when he was haranguing 
very pompously on tragedy or comedy, or some sub- 
ject of criticism. The poor man looked as if he had 
been shot, and after recovering himself, said with 
a ghastly smile, " Surely this was not always your 
opinion." Gregory persisted, and after saying that 
criticism was a subject on which he thought it lawful 
to change, he entirely refuted the poor undone doctor : 
not another word did he utter the whole evening. He 
had his coffee in his room next morning, and sent for 
Gregory before we left the parlour. I waited for an 
hour, when at last he joined me, and told me he had 
been rated at no allowance by the fat man ; and when 
he defended himself by saying that he had gone far 
beyond the bounds prescribed, the poor soul fell into 
tears, and said he was undone, as he had lost the only 
friend he had in the world. It cost Gregory some 
time to comfort him and to exhort him, by exacting 
from him some deference to himself at our future 
parties (for the blockhead till then had never so much 
as said what is your opinion on this subject, Dr Gre- 
gory). A new settlement was made between them, and 
we went on very well; for when some of the rest were 
debating bond fide with the absurd animal, I, who 
was in the secret, gave him line and encouragement 
till he had got far beyond his depth, while Gregory 
was sitting silent in a corner, and never interposed 
till he was in danger of being drowned in the mud. 
This may seem a cruel amusement, but I forgave 


Gregory, for there was no living with Monckly with- 
out it. 

We passed our time in general very agreeably, and 
very profitably too ; for the conversations at our even- 
ing meetings of young men of good knowledge, intended 
for different professions, could not fail to be instruc- 
tive, much more so than the lectures, which, except 
two, that of civil law and that of chemistry, were very 
dull. I asked Gregory why he did not attend the 
lectures, which he answered by asking in his turn 
why I did not attend the divinity professors (for 
there were no less than four of them). Having heard 
all they could say in a much better form at home, we 
went but rar6ly, and for form's sake only, to hear the 
Dutchmen. At this time we were in great anxiety 
about the Kebellion, and were frequently three or four 
weeks without getting a packet from England ; inso- 
much that Gregory and I agreed to make a trip to 
Kotterdam to learn if they had heard anything by 
fishing-boats. We went one day and returned the 
next, without learning anything. We dined with my 
agreeable friends on the Scotch Dyke, Herries and 
Robertson. In returning in the schuyt, I said to 
Gregory that he would be laughed at for having gone 
so far and having brought back no news, but if he 
would support me I would frame a gazette. He 
promised, and I immediately wrote a few paragraphs, 
which I said I had copied from Allan the banker's 
private letter he had got by a fishing-boat. This was 
to impose on Dr Askew, for Allan was his banker. I 

174 LEYDEN. 

took care also to make Admiral Townshend take two 
ships'of the line at Newfoundland, for he was Charles 
Townshend's uncle, and so on with the rest of our 
friends. On our arrival they all assembled at our 
lodging, and our news passed current for all that day. 
At night we disclosed our fabrication, being unable to 
hold out any longer. On another occasion I went 
down with Dr Askew, who, as a learned man of twenty- 
eight, had come over to Leyden to collate manuscripts 
of ^Eschylus for a new edition. His father had given 
him £10,000 in the stocks, so that he was a man of 
importance. Askew's errand at this time was to cheat 
his banker Allan, as he said he would draw on him 
for £100, which he did not want, becailse Exchange 
was at that time against Holland. In vain did I try 
to persuade him that the banker would take care not 
to lose by him. But he persisted, such being the 
skill in business of this eminent Grecian. He had 
some drollery, but neither much sense nor useful learn- 
ing. He was much alarmed when the Highlanders 
got as far as Derby, and believed that London would 
be taken and the bank ruined. I endeavoured in vain 
to raise his spirits ; at last I told him that personally 
I did not much care, for I had nothing to lose, and 
would not return to Britain under a bad Government. 
You are the very man I want, says he, for I have £400 
or £500 worth of books, and some name as a Greek 
scholar. We'll begin bookselling, and you shall be my 
partner and auctioneer. This was soon settled, and as 
soon forgot when the rebels marched back from Derby. 


AVlieii Gregory and I were alannecl at some of the 
expensive suppers some of our friends gave from the 
taverns, we went to Askew, whose turn was next, and 
easily persuaded him to limit his suppers to eggs and 
bukkam and salad, which he accordingly gave us next 
night, which, with tobacco of 40 stivers a lb. and very 
good claret, pleased us all. After this no more fine 
suppers were presented, and Gowans, the old minister 
of the Scottish Church, ventured to be of our number, 
and was very pleasant. 

I went twice to the Hague, which was then a very 
delightful place. Here I met with my kinsman, 
Willie Jardine, now Sir William, who was a cornet in 
the Prince of Orange's Horse Guards, and then a very 
handsome genteel fellow, for as odd as he has turned 
out since. Though I had no introduction to anybody 
there, and no acquaintance but the two students who 
accompanied me the first time, I thought it a delight- 
ful place. A ball that was given about this time by 
the Imperial Ambassador, on the Empress's birthday, 
was fatal to one of our students — a very genteel, 
agreeable rake, as ever I saw, from the AYest Indies. 
At a preceding dancing assembly he had been taken 
out by a Princess of Waldeck, and had acquitted 
himself so well that she procured him an invitation 
to the birthday ball, and engaged him to dance with 
her. He had run himself out a good deal before ; and 
a fine suit of white and silver, which cost £60, com- 
pleted his distress, and he was obliged to retire with- 
out showing it to us more than once. There was 

1 76 LEYDEN. 

another West Indian there, a Mr Freeman, a man of 
fortune, sedate and sensible. He was very handsome 
and well-made. Having been three years in Leyden, 
he was the best skater there. There was an East 
India captain resident in that city, whom the Dutch 
set up as a rival to Freeman, and they frequently 
appeared on the Rhine together. The Dutchman was 
tall and jolly, but very active withal. The ladies, 
however, gave the palm to Freeman, who was so 
handsome, and having a figure much like Garrick, all 
his motions were perfectly genteel. This gentleman, 
after we left Leyden, made the tour of Italy, Sicily, 
and Greece, with Willie Gordon and Doddeswell ; the 
former of whom told me long afterwards that he had 
died soon after he returned to Jamaica, which was 
Gordon's own native country, though his parents were 
Scotch, and cousins of Gordon of Hawhead, in Aber- 
deenshire. He was too young and too dissipated to 
attend our evening meetings ; neither did Charles Con- 
galton, who was one of the' best young men I have ever 
known. His pretence was that he could not leave his 
Irish chum of the name of Keefe ; but the truth was, 
that having been bred a Jacobite, and having many 
friends and. relations in the Rebellion, he did not like 
to keep company with those who were warm friends 
of Government. Dickson and he were my companions 
on a tour to Amsterdam, where we staid only three 
days, and were much pleased with the magnificence, 
wealth, and trade of that city. Dickson was a very 
honest fellow, but rather dull, and a hard student. As 


I commonly sat up an hour after the rest had gone to 
their rooms, chatting or reading French with Made- 
moiselle, and as Dickson's apartment was next the 
parlour, he complained much of the noise we made, 
laughing and talking, because it disturbed him, who 
was a midnight student. He broke in upon us with 
impertinent curiosity, but I drove him to his bed, and 
by sitting up an hour longer that night, and making 
more noise than usual, we reduced him to patience and 
close quarters ever after, and we made less noise. I 
mentioned somewhere that Mademoiselle had paid for 
her English, which was true, for she had an affair with 
a Scotch gentleman ten or twelve years before, and 
had followed him to Leith on pretence of a promise, 
of which, however, she made nothing but a piece 
of money. 

At Christmas time, three or four of us passed three 
days at Rotterdam, where my friends were very agree- 
able to my companions. Young Kennedy, whom we 
had known at Amsterdam, was visiting his father at 
this time, as well as young Ainslie, the other minister s 
son, which improved our parties. ^Irs Kennedy, the 
mother, was ill of a consumption, and British physicians 
being in great credit there, Monckly, who was called 
Doctor, though he had not taken his degree, being 
always more forward than anybody in showing himself 
off, was pitched upon by Mr Kennedy to visit his wife. 
Gregory, who was really a physician, and had acquired 
both knowledge and skill by having been an appren- 
tice in his brother's shop at Aberdeen, and visited the 


178 LEYDEN. 

patients with him, was kept in the background ; but 
he was anxiously consulted by Monckly twice a-day, 
and taught him his lesson, which he repeated very 
exactly, for I heard him two or three times, being a 
familiar in the house, while the good Doctor was uncon- 
scious that I knew of his secret oracle. For all this, 
Monckly was only ridiculous on account of his childish 
vanity, and his love of showing himself off. He was, 
in reality, a very good-natured and obliging man, of 
much benevolence as well as courtesy. He practised 
afterwards in London with credit, for they cured him 
of his affectation at Batson's. He died not many 
years after. 

At this time five or six of us made an agreeable 
journey on skates, to see the painted glass in the 
church at Tergou. It was distant twelve miles. AVe 
left Eotterdam at ten o'clock, saw the church, and 
dined, and returned to Eotterdam between five and 
six in the evening. It was moonlight, and a gentle 
breeze on our back, so that we returned in an hour 
and a quarter. 

Gregory, though a far abler man than Monckly, and 
not less a man of learning for his age than of taste, 
in the most important qualities was not superior to 
Monckly. When he was afterwards tried by the 
ardent spirits of Edinburgh and the prying eyes of 
rivalship, he did not escape without the imputation 
of being cold, selfish, and cunning. His pretensions 
to be more religious than others of his profession, and 
his constant eulogies on the female sex as at least 


equal, if not superior, to the male, were supposed to 
be lures of reputatiou, or professional arts to get into 
business. When those objections were made to him 
at Edinburgh, I was able to take off the edge from 
them, by assuring people that his notions and modes of 
talking were not newly adopted for a purpose, for that 
when at Leyden, at the age of twenty-one or twenty- 
two, he was equally incessant and warm on those 
topics, though he had not a female to flatter, nor ever 
went to church but when I dragged him to please 
old Go wan. Having found Aberdeen too narrow 
a circle for him, he tried London for a twelvemonth 
without success — ^for l^eing ungainly in his person 
and manner, and no lucky accident having befallen 
him, he could not make his way suddenly in a 
situation where external graces and address go much 
further than profound learning or professional skilL 
Dr Gregory, however, was not without address, for 
he was much a master of conversation on all subjects, 
and without gross flattery obtained even more than a 
favourable hearing to himself ; for never contradicting 
you at first, but rather assenting or yielding, as it 
were, to your knowledge and taste, he very often 
brought you round to think as he did, and to con- 
sider him a superior man. In all my dealings with 
him — for he was my family physician — I found him 
friendly, affectionate, and generous. 

An unlucky accident happened about the end of 
January, which disturbed the harmony of our society, 
and introduced imeasiness and suspicion among us. 

180 LEYDEX. 

At an evening meeting, where I happened not to be, 
Charles Townshend, who had a great deal of wit 
which he was fond to show, even sometimes at the 
expense of his friends, though in reality one of the 
best-natured of men, took it in his head to make a 
butt of James Johnstone, afterwards Sir James of 
Westerhall. Not contented with the smartness of his 
raillery, lest it should be obscure, he frequently ac- 
companied it with that motion of the tongue in the 
cheek which explains and aggravates everything. He 
continued during the evening to make game of James, 
who, slow of apprehension and unsuspicious, had taken 
all in good part. Some one of the company, however, 
who had felt Charles's smartness, which he did not 
choose to resent, had gone in the morning to John- 
stone and opened his eyes on Townshend's behaviour 

Johnstone, though not apt to take offence, was 
prompt enough in his resentment when taken, and 
immediately resolved to put Charles's courage to the 
test. I was sent for next forenoon by twelve o'clock 
to Charles's lodgings, who looked pale and undone, 
more than I had ever seen him. He was liable at 
that time to convulsion fits, which seldom failed to 
attack him after a late supper. I asked him what 
was the matter with him ; he answered, that he had 
been late up, and had been ill. He next asked me if 
I had ever observed him use James Johnstone with 
ill-natured raillery or sarcasm in company, or ridicule 
him behind his back. I answered him that I had 


never perceived anything between them but that 
playsome kind of raillery so frequent among good 
friends and companions, and that when Johnstone 
was absent I had never heard him ridicule him but 
for trifles, in spite of which I conceived he had a 
respect for him. Upon this he showed me a letter 
from Johnstone, taxinor him with havinof often treated 
him with contempt in company, and particularly for 
his behaviour the nisjht before, which havino; been 
made to advert to by a friend who was sharper- 
sighted than him, had brought sundry things to his 
recollection, which, though he did not mind at the 
time, were fully explained to him by his behaviour 
to him the night before. The letter concluded with 
a challenge. "And what answer are you to make 
to this 1 " said I. " Not fight, to be sure," said he, 
" for I have no quarrel with Johnstone, who is the 
best-natured man in the world." *' If you can make 
it up, and keep it secret, it may do, otherwise you'll 
be dishonoured by the transaction." I added, " Find 
out the malicious scoundrel if you can who has acted 
like a vile informer, and take vengeance on him." He 
seemed quite irresolute, and I left him with this 
advice, either to make it up, or put it over as soon 
as possible. He made it up, to be sure, but it was in 
a manner that hurt him, for Johnstone and he went 
round all the lodgings in Leyden, and inquired of 
everybody if any of them had ever heard or seen him 
ridicule Johnstone. Everybody said no to this, and 
he and Johnstone became the greater friends. But it 


did him more harm than it would or ought to have 
done at his raw age, if he had not afterwards betrayed 
want of firmness of character. This was a pity, for 
he had unbounded capacity and application, and was 
good-tempered and affectionate. 

This accident in some measure broke the bond of 
our society, but it was of little importance to us, who 
meant to leave Leyden very soon. Gregory and I 
had agreed to go to London together, and when 
Monckly heard of this resolution, he determined to 
accompany us. His monitor had advised him to take 
his degree in Leyden, but the honest man did not 
choose to stand the examination ; and he knew that 
by paying a little more he could get his diploma sent 
after him. Dickson remained to take his degree, as 
he regarded the additional guineas much more than 
he feared the examination. Gregory, with a degree 
of malice due to the fat man for his vanity and pre- 
sumption, pressed him very much to abide the trial, 
and blazoned to him the inglorious retreat he was 
about to make ; but it would not do, as Gregory 
knew perfectly beforehand. 

About the end of February or the beginning of 
March we set out on our return to Britain; when, 
passing two days very agreeably with our friends at 
Eotterdam, we fell down to Helvoet, and took our 
passage on board the packet, which was to sail for 
Harwich next morning. On the journey and voyage 
Monckly assumed his proper station, which was that 
of treasurer and director; and, to say the truth, he did 


it well ; for except in one instance, he managed our 
afl^irs with a decent economy, no less than with, the 
generosity that became his assumed office. The ex- 
ception to this was his allowing himself to be imposed 
upon by the landlord of the inn at Helvoet, in lapng 
in sea-stores for our voyage, for he said he had known 
packets on the sea for a week by calms, &c. The 
director elect, therefore, laid in a cold ham and a couple 
of fowls, with a sirloin of beef, nine bottles of wine 
and three of brandy, none of all which we were able 
to taste except the brandy. 

We sailed from Helvoet at eight in the morning, 
and having a fine brisk gale, quite fair, we arrived on 
the coast of England by eight in the evening ; though, 
having made the land too far to the northward, it was 
near twelve before we got down to Harwich. AVe 
had beds in the cabin, and were all so heartily sea- 
sick that we were hardly able to lift up our heads 
the whole day, far less to partake of any of our sea- 
stores, except a little brandy to settle our stomachs. 

We had one cabin passenger, who was afterwards 
much celebrated. AYhen we were on the quarterdeck 
in the morning, we observed three foreigners, of dif- 
ferent ages, who had under their care a young person 
of about sixteen, very handsome indeed, whom we 
took for a Hanoverian baron coming to Britain to pay 
his court at St James's. The gale freshened so soon 
that we had not an opportunity of conversing with 
those foreigners, when we were obliged to take to our 
beds in the cabin. The young person was the only 


one of the strangers who had a berth there, because, 
as we supposed, it occasioned an additional freight. 
My bed was directly opposite to that of the stranger, 
but we were so sick that there was no conversation 
among us till the young foreigner became very fright- 
ened in spite of the sickness, and called out to me in 
French, if we were not in danger. The voice betrayed 
her sex at once, no less than her fears. I consoled 
her as well as I could, and soon brought her above 
the fear of danger. This beautiful person was Violetti 
the dancer, who was engaged to the opera in the Hay- 
market, This we were made certain of by the man, 
who called himself her father, waiting on us next day 
at Harwich, requesting our countenance to his daugh- 
ter on her first appearance, and on her benefit. I 
accordingly was at the opera the first night she ap- 
peared, where she was the first dancer, and main- 
tained her ground till Garrick married her. 

We had so much trouble about our baggage that 
we did not get from Harwich till one o'clock, and I 
was obliged to leave Leeson's picture, which I had 
undertaken to carry to London for John Wilkes. We 
passed the night at Colchester, where the foreigners 
were likely to be roughly treated, as the servants at 
the inn took ofi'ence at the young woman in men's 
clothes, as one room was only bespoke for all the four. 
We interposed, however, when Monckly's authority, 
backed by us, prevented their being insulted. They 
travelled in a separate coach from us, but we made 
the young lady dine with us next day, which secured 


her good treatment. We were so late in getting to 
London that we remained all night together in an inn 
in Friday Street, and separated next day, with a pro- 
mise of seeing one another often ; yet so great is the 
city of London, and so busy is everybody kept there, 
that, intimate as we had been, it was three weeks or a 
month before we met again. We had not yet found 
out the British Coflfeehouse, where so many of our 
countrymen assembled daily. 

I orot a coach, and went to Xew Bond Street to 
my cousin. Captain Lyon's, who had been married for 
a few years to Lady Catherine Bridges, a daughter of 
the Marquess of Carnarvon, and grandchild of the 
Duke of Chandos. Lyon's mother was an acquaint- 
ance of the Marchioness, the young lady's mother of 
the Dysart family. The Marchioness had fallen in 
love with Lyon, who was one of the handsomest men 
in London, but he escaped by marrying the daughter, 
who, though not handsome, was young and alluring, 
and had the prospect of a great fortune, as she had 
only one sister, who was deformed. Here I renewed 
my acquaintance with my aunt Lyon, who was still 
a fine woman. Her elder sister, Mrs Paterson, the 
wddow of a Captain Paterson of the Bannockburn 
family, a very plain-looking sensible woman, kept 
house with her, while the son and his family lived in 
the next house, which belonged to Mrs Lyon. Lady 
Catherine had by this time two girls, three and four 
years of age, as beautiful children as ever were seen. 
They had bespoke for me a small lodging in Little 


Madden Street, within sight of the back of their 
house. Lyon was a cheerful fine fellow as ever was 
born, who had just returned with his troop of the 
Horse-Guards from Flanders, where he and they had 
been for two campaigns under the Duke of Cumber- 
land. Witli them and their friends I passed part of 
my time ; but having found some of my old friends 
lounging about the British and Forrest's Coffeehouses, 
in Cockspur Street, Charing Cross — viz. John Blair, 
afterwards a prebendary of Westminster, Robert 
Smith, afterwards distinguished by the appellation of 
the Duke of Roxburgh's Smith, who introduced me to 
Dr Smollett, with whom he was intimate, and Charles 
Congalton arriving in a few weeks from Leyden, who 
was a stranger as well as myself in London — I was 
at no loss how to pass my time agreeably, when Lyon 
and his family were engaged in their own circle.* 

By Lyon, however, I was introduced to some 
families of condition, and was carried to court of an 
evening, for George IL at that time had evening draw- 
ing-rooms, where his Majesty and Princess Amelia, 
who had been a lovely woman, played at cards, and the 
courtiers sauntered for an hour or two. This was a 
very insipid amusement. I went with Lyon also and 
his lady to a ridotta at the Haymarket, a ball where 
there were not fewer than fifteen hundred people, and 

* Of John Blair, the chronologist, some notices will be found in the His- 
tory of Hinckley (of which he was vicar) by Nichols, in the sixth volume of 
the Topographia Britannica. Robert Smith is probably the same who suc- 
ceeded Bentley as Master of Trinity CoUege, Cambridge. He was very 
eminent in ojitics and mathematics, but scarcely anything is now known of 
him beyond a scanty notice in Hutton's Mathematical Dictionary. — Ed. 


which Eobert Keith, the ambassador, told me, in the 
entry, was a strong proof of the greatness and opu- 
lence of London, for he had stood in the entry, he said, 
and had seen all the ladies come in, and was certain 
that not one-half of them were of the Court end of the 
town, for he knew every one of them. Lady Cathe- 
rine Lyon, whom I squired that night, and with whom 
I danced, introduced me to many of her acquaintance, 
and among the rest to Lady Dalkeith and her sisters, 
the daughters of John, Duke of Argyle, who, she said, 
were her cousins. The Countess was then with child 
of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch, who was born on the 
14th of September thereafter, who was my much- 
respected patron and highly-honoured friend. 

Captain Lyon introduced me to his friends, the 
officers of the Horse-Guards, with whom I lived a good 
deal. The troop he belonged to, which, I think, was 
Lord Tyrawley's, was one of the two which had been 
abroad in Flanders, between whom and those at home 
there was a strong emulation who should entertain 
most expensively when on guard. Their parties were 
generally in the evening, when they had the most 
expensive suppers that could be got from a tavern 
— amongst other things champagne and ice-creams, 
both which were new to me, and the last then rare 
in London. I had many very agreeable parties with 
those officers, who were all men of the world, and 
some of them of erudition and understandinor. One 
I must particularly mention was Captain Elliot, after- 
wards Lord Heathfield, the celebrated defender of 


Gibraltar. A parcel of us happened to meet in the 
Park in a fine evening in April, who, on asking each 
other how they were engaged, seven or eight of us 
agreed to sup at the Cardigan at Charing Cross, among 
whom Elliot was one. Lyon and I undertook to go 
directly to the house and bespeak a room, and were soon 
joined by our company and two or three more of their 
friends, whom they had met in their walk. We passed 
the evening very pleasantly, and when the bill was 
called for, a Mr Philips, who was in the chair, and 
who, by the death of a relation that morning, had 
succeeded to an estate of £1000 a-year, washed to pay 
the whole reckoning, which he said was a trifle. This 
was resisted. He then said he would play odds or 
evens with all the company in their turns, whether he 
or they should pay. This was agreed to, and he con- 
trived to lose to everybody except Captain Elliot, who 
said he never played for his reckoning. I observed 
on this afterwards to Lyon that this appeared parti- 
cular, and that Elliot, though by his conversation a 
very sensible man, yet did not yield to the humour of 
the company, which was to gratify Philips. He an- 
swered me, that though Captain Elliot was somewhat 
singular and austere in his manners, yet he was a very 
worthy and able officer, for whom he had great esteem. 
This trait of singularity occurred to me when he be- 
came so distinguished an officer, whom I should rather 
have noted as sour and untractable. 

John Blair had passed his trials as a preacher in 
Scotland, but having a few hundred j^ounds of patri- 


mony, chose to pay a visit to London, where he loit- 
ered till he spent it all. After some time he thought 
of completing and publishing his Chronological Tables, 
the plan of which had been given him by Dr Hugh 
Blair, the celebrated preacher. He became acquainted 
with the Bishop of Lincoln, with whom he was soon a 
favourite, and having been ordained by him, was pre- 
sented to the livinsj of Burton Cogles, in his diocese. 
He was afterwards teacher of mathematics to the 
Duke of York, the King's brother, and was by his 
interest preferred to be a prebendary of Westminster. 
He was a lively agreeable fellow, and one of the most 
friendly men in the world. Smith had been abroad 
with the young Laird of M'Leod of that period, and 
was called home with his pupil when the Rebellion 
began. He had been ill rewarded, and was on his 
shifts in London. He was a man of superior under- 
standing, and of a most gentlemanly address. With 
Smollett he was very intimate. We four, with one or 
two more, frequently resorted to a small tavern in the 
corner of Cockspur Street at the Golden Ball, where 
we had a frugal supper and a little punch, as the 
finances of none of the company were in very good 
order. But we had rich enough conversation on 
literary subjects, which was enlivened by Smollett's 
agreeable stories, which he told with peculiar grace. 

Soon after our acquaintance, Smollett showed me 
his tragedy of ''James L of Scotland," which he never 
could bring on the stage. For this the managers could 
not be blamed, though it soured him against them, 


and he appealed to the public by printing it ; but the 
public seemed to take part with the managers. 

I was in the coffeehouse with Smollett when the news 
of the battle of Culloden arrived, and when London all 
over was in a perfect uproar of joy. It was then that 
Jack Stuart, the son of the Provost, behaved in the man- 
ner I before mentioned. About 9 o'clock I wished to 
go home to Lyon's, in New Bond Street, as I had pro- 
mised to sup with him that night, it being the anni- 
versary of his marriage night, or the birthday of one 
of his children. I asked Smollett if he was ready to 
go, as he lived at Mayfair ; he said he was, and would 
conduct me. The mob were so riotous, and the 
squibs so numerous and incessant that we were glad 
to go into a narrow entry to put our wigs in our 
pockets, and to take our swords from our belts and 
walk with them in our hands, as everybody then wore 
swords ; and, after cautioning me against speaking a 
word, lest the mob should discover my country and be- 
come insolent, " for John Bull," says he, " is as haughty 
and valiant to-night as he was abject and cowardly 
on the Black Wednesday when the Highlanders were 
at Derby." After we got to the head of the Hay- 
market through incessant fire, the Doctor led me by 
narrow lanes, where we met nobody but a few boys at 
a pitiful bonfire, who very civilly asked us for six- 
pence, which I gave them. I saw not Smollett again 
for some time after, when he showed Smith and me 
the manuscript of his Tears of Scotland, which was 
published not long after, and had such a run of 


approbation. Smollett, though a Tory, was not a 
Jacobite, but he had the feelings of a Scotch gentle- 
man on the reported cruelties that were said to be 
exercised after the battle of Culloden. 

My cousin Lyon was an Englishman born, though 
of Scottish parents, and an officer in the Guards, and 
perfectly loyal, and yet even he did not seem to rejoice 
so cordially at the victory as I expected, " What's the 
matter '? " says I ; " has your Strathmore blood got up, 
that you are not pleased with the quelling of the Ee- 
bellion 1 " " God knows," said he, " I heartily rejoice 
that it is quelled ; but I'm sorry that it has been 
accomplished by the Duke of C , for if he was be- 
fore the most insolent of all commanders, what will 
he be now V I afterwards found that this sentiment 
prevailed more than I had imagined ; and yet, though 
no general, he had certainly more parts and talents 
than any of the family. 

I was witness to a scene in the British Coffeehouse, 
which was afterwards explained to me. Captain 
David Cheap, who was on Anson's voyage, and had 
been wrecked on the coast of Chili, and was detained 
there for some time by the Spaniards, had arrived in 
London, and frequented this coffeehouse. Being a man 
of sense and knowledge, he was employed by Lord An- 
son to look out for a proper person to write his voyage, 
the chaplain, whose journal furnished the chief mate- 
rials, being unequal to the task. Captain Cheap had a 
predilection for his countrymen, and having heard of 
Guthrie, the writer of the WeMminster Journal, &c.. 


he had come down to the coffeehouse that evening to 
inquire about him, and, if he was pleased with what 
he heard, would have him introduced. Not long 
after Cheap had sat down and called for coffee, Guthrie 
arrived, dressed in laced clothes, and talking loud to 
everybody, and soon fell a-wrangling with a gentle- 
man about tragedy and comedy and the unities, &c., 
and laid down the law of the drama in a peremptory 
manner, supporting his arguments with cursing and 
swearing. I saw he [Cheap] was astonished, when, ris- 
ing and going to the bar, he asked who this was, and 
finding it was Guthrie, whom he had come down to in- 
quire about, he paid his coffee and slunk off in silence. 
I knew him well afterwards, and asked him one day if 
he remembered the incident. He told me that it was 
true that he came there with the design of talking 
with Guthrie on the subject of the voyage, but was so 
much disgusted with his vapouring manner that he 
thought no more of him."^^ 

* Of William Guthrie, whose name is on the title-pages of many voluminous 
works, one of which, the Geographical Grammar, had great celebrity and a 
vast circulation, various notices will be found in D' Israeli's Calamities of 
Authors and BosweU's Johnson. The account of Anson's voyage, so well 
esteemed in its own day, and so well worth reading in the present, both 
from the interesting character of the events and the acbnirable way in which 
they are told, professes to have been compiled from Anson's own })apers by 
Richard W^ alter, siu"geon of the Centurion, one of the vessels in the expedi- 
tion. It is believetl, however, that the work was edited, if not almost re- 
written, by Benjamin Robins, the mathematician. William Davis, in his 
Olio, or Bibliographical and Literary Anecdotes and Memoranda, says : 
' ' Walters' manuscript, which was at first intended to have been printed, 
being little more than a transcript from the shiiVs journals, Mr Robins was 
recoimnended as a proper person to revise it; and it was then determined 
that the whole shoidd be written by him, the transcripts of the journals 
serving as materials oidy ; and that, with the Introduction and many dis- 

LONDON IN 1746. 193 

I met Captain Cheap in Scotland two years after 
this, when he came to visit his relations. I met him 
often at his half-brothers, George Cheap, Collector 
of Customs, at Prestonpans, and in summer at goat- 
whey quarters, where I lived with him for three 
weeks, and became very confidential with him. He 
had a sound and sagacious understandinor and an 
intrepid mind, and had great injustice done to him 
in Byron's Narrative, which jNIajor Hamilton, who 
was one of the unfortunate people in the Wager, 
told me was in many things false or exaggerated.* 
One instance I remember, which is this, that Cheap 
was so selfish that he had concealed four pounds of seal 
in the lining of his coat, to abstract from the com- 
pany for his own use. He, no doubt, had the piece 
of seal, and Captain Hamilton saw him secrete it ; 
but when they had got clear of a cazique, who plun- 
dered them of all he could, the captain, producing his 
seal, said to his companions, " That devil wanted to 
reduce me to his own terms by famine, but I out- 
plotted him ; for with this piece of seal we could 

sertations in the body of the book, of which not the least hint had been 
given by Walter, he extended the account, in his own pecidiar style and 
manner, to nearly twice its original size." Davis prints a letter from Lord 
Anson, tending to confirm his statement — Ed. 

* The book here referred to, written by the i)oet's grandfather, and cited 
in Don Juan as "My grandad's Narrative," was very popidar. Its title is 
" The Narrative of the Honourable John Eyron (commander in a late expedi- 
tion round the world) ; containing an account of the great distresses suffered 
by himself and his companions on the coast of Patagonia, from the year 
1740 till their arrival m. England in 17-46 ; with a description of St Jago de 
Chili, and the manners and customs of the inhabitants. Also a relation of 
the loss of the Wager man-of-war, one of Lord Anson's squatlron : " 1768.— 


194 LONDON IN 1746. 

have held out twenty-four hours longer." Another 
trait of his character Captain Hamilton told me, which 
was, — that when they arrived in Chili, to the number 
of eleven, who had adhered to Cheap, and who were 
truly, for hunger and nakedness, worse than the low- 
est beggars, and were delighted with the arrival of a 
Spanish officer from the governor, who presented Cheap 
with a petition, which he said he behoved to sign, 
otherwise they could not be taken under the protec- 
tion of the Spanish governor ; Cheap, having glanced 
this paper with his eye, and throwing it indignantly 
on the ground, said sternly to the officer that he 
would not sign such a paper, for the officers of the 
King of England could die of hunger, but they dis- 
dained to beg. Hamilton and Byron and all the 
people fell into despair, for they believed that the 
captain was gone mad, and that they were all undone. 
But it had a quite contrary effect, for the officer now 
treated him with unbounded respect, and, going hastily 
to the governor, returned immediately with a blank 
sheet of paper, and desired Captain Cheap to dictate 
or write his request in his own way. 

Hamilton added that Byron and he being then very 
young, about sixteen or seventeen, they frequently 
thought they were ruined by the captain's behaviour, 
which was often mysterious, and alw^ays arrogant and 
high ; but that yet in the sequel they found that he 
had always acted under the guidance of a sagacious 
foresight. This was marking him as a character truly 
fit for command, which was the conclusion I drew 

LONDON IN 1746. 195 

from my intercourse with him in Scotland. On my 
inquiring at Hamilton what had made Byron so severe, 
he said he believed it was that the captain one day 
had called him "pnppy" when he was petulant, and 
feeling himself in the wrong, he endeavoured to make 
up with Byron by greater civility, which the other 
rejecting. Cheap kept him at a greater distance. He 
entirely cleared Cheap from any blame for shooting 
Cozens, into which he was led by unavoidable cir- 
cumstances, and which completely re-established his 

As I had seen the Chevalier Prince Charles frequently 
in Scotland, I was appealed to if a print that was 
selling in all the shops was not like him. My answer 
was, that it had not the least resemblance. Having 
been taken one nio;ht, however, to a meetins; of the 
Koyal Society by Microscope Baker, there was intro- 
duced a Hanoverian baron, whose likeness was so 
strong to the print which passed for the young Pre- 
tender, that I had no doubt that, he being a stranger, 
the printsellers had got him sketched out, that they 
might make something of it before his vera effigies 
could be had. Experiments in electricity were then 
but new in England, and I saw them well exhibited 
at Baker's, whose wife, by the by, was a daughter of 
the celebrated Daniel Defoe. 

I dined frequently with a club of officers, mostly 
Scotch, at a coffeehouse at Chiu-ch Court in the Strand, 
where Charles Congalton lodged, and who introduced 
me to the club, many of whom were old acquaintances. 


such as Captain Henry Fletcher, Boyd Porterfield, and 
sundry more who had been spared at the fatal battle 
of FonteDoy. We had an excellent dinner at lOd. 
' — I thought as good as those in Holland at a guilder. 
The company, however, were so much pleased that 
they voluntarily raised it to Is. 6d., and they were 
right ; for as they generally went to the play at six 
o'clock, the advance of the ordinary left them at 
liberty to forsake the bottle early. 

The theatres were not very attractive this season, 
as Garrick had gone over to Dublin ; there still re- 
mained, however, what was enough for a stranger — 
Mrs Pritchard, and Mrs Clive, and Macklin, who were 
all excellent in their way. But I had seen Hughes 
and Mrs Hamilton in Edinburgh, and whether or not 
it might be owing to the force of first impressions, I 
then thought that they were not surpassed by those 
I saw in London. 

Of the literary people I met with at this time in 
London, I must not forget Thomson the poet and Dr 
Armstrong. Dickson had come to London from Ley- 
den with his degree of M.D., and had been introduced 
to Armstrong, who was his countryman. A party 
was formed at the Ducie Tavern at Temple Bar, where 
the company were Armstrong, Dickson, and Andrew 
Millar, with Murdoch his friend.'' Thomson came at 

* As to Dickson, see further on, p. 206. The Reverend Patrick Murdoch 
was the author of several scientific works, and of memoirs of M 'Laurin the 
mathematician and Thomson the poet, to whom he is said to have sat for 
the portrait of the "little, fat, round, oily man of God" in tlie Castle of 
Indolence, who "had a roguish twinkle in his eye, and shone all glittering 
with ungodly dew." — Ed. 

LONDON IN 1746. 197 

last, and disappointed me both by bis appearance and 
conversation. Armstrong bore bim down, having got 
into his sarcastical vein by the wine he had drunk 
before Thomson joined us. 

At that particular time strangers were excluded 
from the House of Commons, and I had not then a 
strong curiosity for that kind of entertainment. I 
saw all the sights as usual for strang-ers in London, 
and having procured a small pamphlet which de- 
scribed the public buildings with taste and discern- 
ment, I visited them with that in my hand. On 
Sundays I wfent with Lyon and his family to St 
George's Church in Hanover Square. Sometimes I 
went to St James's Church to hear Dr Seeker, who 
was the rector of that parish, and a fine preacher. I 
was twice at the opera, which seemed so very far 
from real life and so imnatural that I was pleased 
with nothing but the dancing, which was exquisite, 
especially that of Violetti. 


1746-1748 : AGE, 24-26, 







Vauxhall furnislied early in May a fine entertain- 
ment, but I was now urged by my father to return 
home ; and accordingly Charles Congalton and I left 
London about the middle of May on horseback, and, 
having Windsor and Oxford to see, we took the 
west road, and were delighted with the beauty of the 
country. At Windsor, which charmed us, we met 
with some old acquaintances — Dr Francis Home and 
Dr Adam Austin, who were then surgeons of dragoons, 
and who, when afterwards settled at Edinburgh as 
physicians, became eminent in their line. At Oxford 
we knew nobody but Dr John Smith, M.D., who was 
a Glasgow exhibitioner, and then taught mathematics 
with success in Oxford. He was a good kind of man, 


and became an eminent practitioner. He went about 
with us, and showed us all the colleges, with which 
we were really astonished. We took the road by 
Warwick, and were much pleased with that town and 
Lord Brooks' castle. When we came to Lichfield, 
we met, as we expected, with John Dickson of Kil- 
bucho, M.P., who accompanied us during the rest of 
our journey, till we arrived in Scotland. 

As three make a better travelling party than two, 
society was improved by tliis junction ; for though Kil- 
bucho was a singular man, he knew the country, which 
he had often travelled ; and his absurdities, which were 
innocent, amused us. As well as he knew the country, 
however, when we came to the river Esk, and to the 
usual place of passing it — for there was then no bridge 
opposite Gretna Green — although he had insisted on 
our dismissing the g-uide we had brought from some 
distance to show us the road, yet nothing could per- 
suade him, nor even his servant, to venture into that 
ford which he professed he knew so well. The tide 
was not up, but the river was a little swollen. Con- 
galton and I became impatient of his obstinate cow- 
ardice, and, thinking we observed the footstep of a 
horse on the opposite side (what we thought a horse's 
footstep turned out a piece of sea-ware which the tide 
had left), we ventured in together and got safe through, 
while the gallant knight of the shire for the county of 
Peebles, with his squire, stood on the bank till he saw 
us safe through. This disgusted us not a little, but 
as I was to part with him at Gretna, and go round by 


Annan and Dumfries to visit my friends, .1 had only 
half an hour more of his company, which I passed in 
deriding his cowardice. Congalton, anxious to get 
soon to Edinburgh, accompanied him by the Moffat 
road. But strange to tell of a Scotch laird, when 
they came to the Crook Inn, within a few miles of 
Kilbucho, which lies about half a mile off the road as 
it approaches Broughton, he wished Congalton a good 
evening without having the hospitality to ask him to 
lodge a night with him, or even to breakfast as he 
passed next morning. I was happy to find after- 
wards that all the Tweeddale lairds were not like 
this savage. 

I passed only two days at Dumfries and Tinwald, 
at w^hich last place my old grandfather, who was then 
seventy-two, was rejoiced to see me, and not a little 
proud to find that his arguments had prevailed, and 
had sufficient force to prevent my deviating into 
any other profession than the clerical. When I re- 
turned to my father's house, I found all the family in 
good health except my brother William, who was then 
in his sixteenth year, and had all the appearance of 
going into a decline. My favourite sister Catherine 
had fallen a prey to the same disease in February. 
I had described to Gregory when at Ley den the state 
of her health, and the qualities of mind and temper 
that had attached me to her so strongly. He said 
that I would never see her again, for those exquisite 
qualities were generally attached to such a frail tex- 
ture of body as promised but short duration. AVilliam 


was as remarkable in one sex as she was in the other; 
an excellent capacity for languages and sciences, a 
kind and generous temper, a magnanimous soul, and 
that superior leading mind that made him be always 
looked up to by his companions ; with a beautiful 
countenance and a seemingly well-formed body, which 
were not proof against the slow but certain progress 
of that insidious disease. He lived to November 
1747, and then, to my infinite regret, gave way to 

I had only one sermon to deliver before the Presby- 
tery of Haddington to become a preacher, which was 
over in June. My fii-st appearances were attended to 
with much expectation ; and I had the satisfaction to 
find that the first sermon I ever preached, not on 
trials, which was on the fast day before the sacra- 
ment at Tranent, had met with universal approbation. 
The genteel people of Prestonpans parish were all 
there ; and one young lady, to whom I had been long 
attached, not having been able to conceal her admira- 
tion of my oratory, I inwardly applauded my own 
resolution of adhering to the promise I had made my 
family to persevere in the clerical profession. 

I revisited Dumfries and Tinwald again to preach 
two Sundays for my grandfather, who gave me his 
warmest approbation. One Mr William Stewart, an 
old clergyman, who heard me on a week-day at Dum- 
fries, gave me more self-confidence, for he was a good 
judge, without partiality. I returned home, and con- 
tinued composing a sermon now and then, which I 


first preached for my father, and then in the neigh- 

Our society was still pretty good ; for though Hew 
Horn was no more, Mr Keith had left us, and Cheap's 
eldest son, Alexander, had been killed at the battle of 
Fontenoy, — Mr William Grant, then Lord Advocate, 
had bought Prestongrange, and resided much there : 
Lord Drummore, too, was still in the parish, and with 
both of them I was in good habits. Hew Bannatine 
had been ordained minister of Ormiston, who was a 
first-rate man for sound understanding and classical 
learning; Robertson was at Gladsmuir; and in Janu- 
ary 1747 John Home was settled at Athelstaneford ; 
so that I had neighbours and companions of the first 
rank in point of mind and erudition. 

In harvest this year I was presented by John Hay, 
Esq. of Spot, to the church of Cockburnspath. As 
my father and grandfather were always against re- 
sisting Providence, I was obliged to accept of it. It 
was an obscure distant place, without amenity, com- 
fort, or society, where if I had been settled, I would 
have more probably fallen into idleness and dissipa- 
tion than a course of study ; for preferment is so 
difficult to be obtained in our Church, and so trifling 
when you have obtained it, that it requires great 
energy of mind not to fall asleep when you are fixed 
in a country charge. From this I was relieved, by 
great good-luck. There was a Mr Andrew Gray, 
afterwards minister of Abernethy, who was a very 
great friend of my father's. He had been preaching 


one Sunday in the beginning of 1747 for Fred. Car- 
michael, minister of Inveresk, and stayed with him all 
nio;ht : from him he had drawn the secret that Presi- 
dent Forbes, who lived in his parish, had secured for 
him a church that was recently vacant in Edinburgh. 
Gray, who was very friendly and ardent, and knew 
my father's connections, urged him without loss of 
time to apply for Inveresk. By this time I had 
preached thrice at Cockbumspath, and was very ac- 
ceptable to the people. My father was unwilling to 
take any step about a church that would not even be 
vacant for a year to come ; but Gray was very urgent, 
and backed all his other arguments with my father 
with the idea that his not doing his utmost would be 
peevishly rejecting the gift of Providence when within 
his reach. My father at last mounted his horse, for 
that he would have done had the distance been but 
half a mile, and away he went, and found Lord Drum- 
'more on the point of going to Edinburgh for the week. 
My father opened his budget, which he received most 
cordially, and told him there was great probability of 
success, for that he was well enough to write both to 
the Duke of Buccleuch the patron, and to the Duke 
of Queensberry, his brother-in-law. Besides that. 
Provost BeU of Dumfries had everything to say with 
the Duke of Queensberry. In a few posts there were 
favourable answers from both the dukes, and a pro- 
mise of Inveresk. 

Lord Drummore was a true friend of my father, 
and had in summer 1746 recommended me to Lord 


Stair for one of his churches that was about to be 
vacant by the translation of the minister ; and I 
preached a day at Kirkliston before his lady with 
that view. But the translation did not take place at 
that time. Mr Hay had presented me to Cockburns- 
path, and on that I would have been settled. The 
Crown, soon after I gave it up, commenced a pro- 
secution against Mr Hay, and were found to have 
the right. Mr John Hay of Spot was a very good 
man, though not of remarkable talents : he died un- 
married, and the estate went to his brother Wil- 
liam. My father had been their tutor in the year 
1714-15, and they retained the greatest regard for 

In the preceding winter I had preached three times 
at Cockburnspath, and was so acceptable to the people 
that I should have an unanimous call, which was on 
the point of being moderated when the promise of 
Inveresk was obtained. My father wished me to let 
ray settlement go on, but I resisted that, as I thought 
it was tampering with people to enter into so close a 
relation with them that was so soon to be dissolved. 
The puzzle was how to get off from the Presbytery of 
Dunbar, who were desirous of having me among 
them ; but I soon solved the difficulty by saying to 
Lord Drummore and my father that nothing could 
be so easy; for as I had accepted of the presentation 
by a letter of acceptance, I had nothing to do but to 
withdraw that acceptance ; this I accordingly did in 
January or February 1747. At this period it was 


that John Home was settled in Athelstaneford, which 
he obtained by the interest of Alexander Home, 
Esq. of Eccles, afterwards Solicitor-General, with Sir 
Francis Kinloch, who was his uncle. He was still 
alive as well as his lady, but his son David, who was 
the year before married to Harriet Cockburn, the 
sister of Sir Alexander, was living in the house of 
Gilmerton, which, as it had been always hospitable, 
was rendered more agreeable by the young people ; 
for the husband was shrewd and sensible, and his 
wife beautiful, lively, and agreeable, and was aspiring 
at some knowledge and taste in belles lettres. This 
house, for that reason, became a great resort for John 
Home and his friends of the clergy. 

This summer, 1747, passed as usual in visiting 
Dumfriesshire, where I had many friends and rela- 
tions ; where, in addition to the rest, I became well 
acquainted with Mr William Cunningham, at that 
time minister of Durrisdeer, and one of the most 
accomplished and agreeable of our order. When the 
Duchess of Queensberry was at Drumlanrig, where she 
was at least one summer after he was minister, she soon 
discovered his superior merit, and made him her daily 
companion, insomuch that the servants and country 
people called him her Grace's walking - staff. My 
cousin, William Wight, afterwards professor at Glas- 
gow, was a great favourite of this gentleman, and 
used to live much Avith him in summer durins: the 
vacation of the College of Edinburgh, and was very 
much improved by his instructive conversation. 


My sister Margaret, who had been brought up at 
Dumfries by her aunt Bell, who had no children, was 
now past fifteen, and already disclosed all that beauty 
of person, sweetness of temper and disposition, and 
that superiority of talents which made her afterwards 
be so much admired, and gave her a sway in the 
politics of the town which was surprising in so 
young a female. Her uncle, George Bell, was the 
political leader, who was governed by his wife, — who 
was swayed by her niece and Frank Baton, Surveyor 
of the Customs, who was a very able man, and who, 
with my sister, were the secret springs of all the pro- 
vost's conduct. 

Dr Thomas Dickson, who was his nephew, by his 
solicitation, after trying London for nine years, was 
prevailed on by his uncle, the provost, to come down 
to Dumfries in 1755, to try his fortune as a practi- 
tioner of physic ; but Dr Even Gilchrist was too well 
established, and the field too narrow, for him to 
do anything ; so at the end of a year he returned to 
London again, where he did better. During that 
year, however, he did what was not very agreeable to 
me. He gained my sister's affections, and a promise 
of marriage, though in point of mind there was a very 
great inequality ; but he had been the only young 
man in the town whose conversation was enlightened 
enough for her superior understanding, and she had 
been pestered by the courtship of several vulgar 
and illiterate blockheads, to be clear of whom she 
engaged herself, though that engagement could not 


be fulfilled for four years or more, when their uncle 
the provost was dead, and Dickson in better circum- 

I had, for three weeks this summer, been at the 
goat-whey with Mrs Cheap's family, at a place called 
Duchery, at the head of the Forth, where I met 
Captain David Cheap, above mentioned. There was 
also the magnet which drew me after her, with unseen 
though irresistible power, — the star that swayed and 
guided all my actions ; and there I hoped that, by 
acquiring the esteem of the uncle, I had the better 
chance of obtaining my object. In the first I suc- 
ceeded, but in the last I finally failed, though I did 
not desist from the persistence for several years after. 
In the end of this year my brother William died, at 
the age of seventeen, who, in spite of his long bad 
health, was likely to have acquired as much learning 
and science as, with his good sense, would have made 
him a distinguished member of society. He was 
much regretted by all his companions, who loved him 
to excess. His own chief reo^ret was, that he was not 
to live to see me minister of Inveresk, the prospect of 
which settlement so near my father had given him 
much satisfaction. 

When Mr Frederick Carmichael was translated to 
Edinburgh, and the time drew near when I was to be 
presented to Inveresk, there arose much murmuring 
in the parish against me, as too young, too full of 
levity, and too much addicted to the company of my 
superiors, to be fit for so important a charge, together 


with many doubts about my having the grace of God, 
an occult quality which the people cannot define, but 
surely is in full opposition to the defects they saw in 
me.* A part of my early history was on this occasion 
of more effect than can be conceived. There was one 
Ann Hall, a sempstress, who had lived close by the 
manse of Prestonpans when I was a boy. She was 
by this time married at Dalkeith, and a Seceder of 
the strictest sect, and a great leader among her own 
people. As many people from Inveresk parish fre- 
quented her shop at Dalkeith on market-days, the 
conversation naturally fell on the subject of who was 
to be their minister. By this time I had been pre- 
sented, but they said it would be uphill work, for an 
opposition was rising against so young a man, to 
whom they had many faults, and that they expected 
to be able to prevent the settlement. " Your opposi- 
tion will be altogether in vain," says Mrs Ann, " for I 
know that it is . foreordained that he shall be your 
minister. He foretold it himself when he was but six 
years of age ; and you know that * out of the mouths 
of babes and sucklings,' " &c. The case was, that soon 
after I had read the Bible to the old wives in the 
churchyard, as 1 mentioned (p. 4), 1 was diverting 
myself on Mrs Ann's stairhead, as was often the case. 
She came to the door, and, stroking my head and 
caressing me, she called me a fine boy, and hoped to 

* In his ' ' Recollections, " lie adds to tliis catalogue of objections — ' ' I danced 
frequently in a manner prohibited by the laws of the Church ; that I wore 
my hat agee ; and had been seen galloping tlirough the Links one day lie- 
tween one and two o'cl(x;k." 


live to see me my father's successor. " No, no," says 
I (I suppose, alarmed at tlie thoughts of my father 
dying so soon), " 111 never be minister of that church; 
but yonder's my church," pointing to the steeple of 
Inveresk, which was distinctly seen from the stair- 
head. She held up her hands with wonder, and stored 
it up itL her heart ; and telling this simple story 
twenty times every market-day to Musselburgh people 
for several months, it paade such an impression that 
the opposition died away. The reign of enthusiasm 
was so recent, that such anecdotes still made an 
impression on the populace. 

After all the forms were gone through, and about 
a year had elapsed after the translation of JMr Frede- 
rick Carmichael to Edinburgh, I was ordained minister 
of Inveresk, on the 2d of August, O.S., 1748, by Mr 
Eobert Paton, minister of Lasswade (as honest and 
gentlemanly a person as any of his cloth), with the 
almost universal goodwill of the parish. The only 
person of consideration who was not present at the 
ordination was Sir James Dalrymple of Newhailes, 
who had taken umbrage at his being refused the pre- 
sentation, when he had applied for it to Gersham 
Carmichael, the brother of Frederick. He and his 
family, however, attended the church on the first 
Sunday after the ordination, when he came round and 
welcomed me to the parish, and invited me to dine 
with him next day, which I did, and continued ever 
after in perfect friendship with him till his death in 



Sir James Dalrjmple was the son of Sir David, who 
had been King's Advocate from 1709 to 1720, and was 
the youngest, and, as was said, the ablest, of all the 
sons of the first Lord Stair. He had loaded himself 
with debt in the South Sea, but his son Sir James 
was Auditor of the Exchequer, which enabled him to 
keep up the rank of his family. He was hospitable and 
gentlemanly, and very charitable. He died in 1751 of 
a lingering disorder (an anasarca), and wished me to be 
often with him when he was ill ; and though he never 
wished me to pray with him when we were left alone, 
always gave the conversation a serious turn, and 
talked like a man who knew he was dying. His lady 
(Lady Christian Hamilton, a sister of the celebrated 
Lord Binning, who died before him) had warned me 
against speaking to him about death, "for Jamie," she 
said, "was timid;" so I allowed him always to lead the 
conversation. One day we were talking of the deist- 
ical controversy, and of the progress of deism, when 
he told me that he knew Collins, the author of one of 
the shrewdest books against revealed religion. He 
said he was one of the best men he ever had known, 
and practised every Christian virtue without believing 
in the Gospel ; and added, that though he had swam 
ashore on a plank — for he was sure he must be in 
heaven — yet it was not for other people to throw them- 
selves into the sea at a venture. This proved him to 
be a sincere though liberal-minded Christian. I was 
sorry for his death, for he was respected in the parish, 
and had treated me with much kindness. 


There was a Mr James Graham, advocate, living 
here at this time, a man of distinguished parts and 
great business. He was raised to the bench in 1749, 
and died in 1751. He had one daughter, Mrs Baron 
Mure. He was an open friendly man, and gave me 
every sort of countenance both as his minister and 
friend, and was a man of great public spirit. He was 
liable in a great degree to a nervous disorder, which 
oppressed him with low spirits : he knew when he 
was going to fall ill, and as it sometimes conj&ned him 
for three months, he sent back his fees to the agents, 
who all of them waited tiQ he recovered, and applied 
to him again. He was Dougalstone's brother, and a 
very powei-fid barrister.* 

Lord Elchies, a senior Judge, lived at Carberry, in 
the parish, and was in all respects a most regular and 
exemplary parishioner.t His lady, who was a sister 
of Sii* Eobert Dickson's, was dead, and his family con- 
sisted of three sons and three or four daughters, un- 
married, for some of the elder daughters were married. 
He came every Sunday with all his family to church, 
and remained to the afternoon service. As he lived in 
the House of Carberry, he had the aisle in the church 
which belonged to that estate, where there was a very 
good room, where he retired to a cold collation, and 

* DoTigalston was the name of the family estate, inherited by the elder 
brother. The Judge took the title of Lord Easdale.— Ed. 

+ Patrick Grant, Lord Elchies, •well known to lawyers by his Collection of 
Reports of the Decisions of the Court of Session from 1733 to 1754, arranged 
in alphabetical order, according to the matter of the legal principle involved 
in each case. See Tytler's Lift of KatntA, L 39.— Ed. 


took Sir Eobert Dickson and me always with him 
when I did not preach in the afternoon. He was an 
eminent Judge, and had great knowledge of the law ; 
but though he was held to be a severe character, I 
found him a man agreeable and good-tempered in 
society. He attended as an elder at the time that the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered, 
and followed one practice, in which he was singular. 
It is the custom for elders to serve tables in sets 
and by turns, that all may serve and none be fatigued. 
When it was his turn to retire to his seat, he entered 
it, as it was close by the communion-table, but never 
sat down till the elements were removed, which could 
not be less than an hour and a-half. I mentioned 
this singularity to him one day, wishing to have it 
explained, when he said that he thought it irreverent 
for any one who ministered at the table to sit dow^n 
while the sacred symbols were present. He removed 
to the House of Inch, nearer Edinburgh (when an 
owner came to live at Carberry, about the year 1752), 
and died of a fever in 1754, being one of nine Judges 
who died in the course of two years, or a little more. 
His eldest son was Mr Baron Grant; his second, 
Eobert, captain of a fifty - gun ship, died young ; 
Andrew, the third, survived his brothers, and died, as 
the Baron did, in Granada. 

Sir Robert Dickson of Carberry, Bart., was great- 
grandson of Dr David Dickson, a celebrated professor 
of divinity in Edinburgh, who was one of the com- 
mittee who attended the Scotch army in England, in 


Charles I.'s time, and got his share of the sum that 
was paid for delivering the King to the English army. 
His having acquired an estate in those days does not 
imply that he had acquired much money, for land was 
very cheap in those days. There was annexed to the 
estate the lordship of Inveresk, now in the Duke of 
Buccleuch, with the patronage of the parish. 

This Sir Eobert, being a weak vain man, had got 
through his whole fortune. The estate was sold, and 
he now lived in a house in Inveresk, opposite to Mr 
Colt's, called Rosebank, built near a hundred years 
before by Sir Thomas Young, Knight. Sir Robert 
Dickson's lady was a daughter of Douglas of Dornoch, 
a worthy and patient woman, who thought it her 
duty not only to bear, but palliate the weaknesses 
and faults of her husband. They had one son, Robert, 
who was in the same classes at the College with me, 
and was very promising. He went young to the East 
Indies to try to mend their broken fortunes, and died 
in a few years. There were three or four daughters. 
Sir Robert had obtained an office in the Customs or 
Excise of about £'130, on which, by the good manage- 
ment of his wife and daughters, he in those days lived 
very decently, and was respected by the common 
people, as he had been once at the head of the parish. 
He loved twopenny and low company, which contri- 
buted to his popularity, together with his being mild 
and silent even in his cups. 

Colin Campbell, Esq., who had been Collector at 
Prestonpans, and was promoted to the Board of 


Customs in 1738, lived now at Pinkie House, and 
had several sons and daughters, my early com- 

There lived at that time, in the corner of Pinkie 
House, by himself, Archibald Robertson, commonly 
called the Gospel, uncle to the celebrated Dr Robertson 
— -a very singular character, who made great part of 
our amusement at Pinkie House, as he came through 
a passage from his own apartment every night to 
supper, and dined there likewise, as often as he pleased, 
for which he paid them a cart of coals in the week, as 
he took charge of Pinkie coal, which his brother-in- 
law, William Adam, architect, and he, had a lease of. 
He was a rigid Presbyterian, and a severe old bachelor, 
whose humours diverted us much. He was at first 
very fond of me, because he said I had common- 
sense, but he doubted I had but little of the grace of 
God in me ; and when Dr George Kay, one of his 
great friends, posed him on that notion, he could not 
explain what he meant, but answered that I was too 
good company to have any deep tincture of religion. 
Kay then asked if he thought he had any grace, as he 
had seen him much amused and pleased when he 
sang, which was more than I could do. He replied, 
that his singing, though so excellent, did not much 
raise him in his opinion. 

There was likewise living at Inveresk, John Murray, 
Esq., Clerk of Session, of the Ochtertyre family, who, 
having been a rake and spendthrift, had married 
Lucky Thom, a celebrated tavern-keeper, to clear 


c£4000 of debt that he had contracted to her.* She 
was dead, but there was a fine girl of a daughter, who 
kept house for her father. There was very good 
company, especially of the Jacobite party, came about 
the house, where I was very often. 

There was likewise Mr Oliver Colt, who resided in 
the family house in Inveresk, who, in two or three 
years afterwards, by the death of an uncle and brother, 
had come to a laro;e fortune. He was descended of 
those clergymen of the parish, the first of whom was 
ordained in 1609, whose father, I have heard, was a 
professor at St Andrews. 

Oliver was a man of mean appearance and. habits, 
and had passed much of his time with the magistrates 
and burghers of Musselburgh, and, ha^dng humour, 
was a great master of their vulgar wit. AMien he 
grew rich, he was deserted by his old friends, and 
had not manners to draw better company about him, 
insomuch that, having been confined for a good while 
to his house by illness, though not keeping his room, 
when an old lady, a Mrs Carse, went in to ask for 
him, he complained bitterly that it was the forty-third 
day that he had been confined, and no neighbour had 
ever come near him. He married afterwards a lady 
of quality, and had enough of company. His son 
Kobert, who died in 1798, was one of the best and 
worthiest men that ever the parish bred in my time, 
and I was much afflicted with his early death. 

* Lest the reader should doubt the printer's accuracy, it is deemed pru- 
dent to state that £4000 is the actual amount stated in the author's MS. — 


The magistrates and town-council were at this time 
less respectable than they had been ; for the Whigs, 
in 1745, had turned out the Jacobites, who were 
more gentlemanlike than their successors, and were 
overlooked by Government, as Musselburgh was only 
a burgh of regality, dependent on the Duke of 
Buccleuch. The new magistrates were of very low 
manners and habits, but good Whigs and Presby- 
terians. All of the burghers, except two of the old 
magistrates. Smart and Vernon, still preserved the 
old custom at their family feasts of making the com- 
pany pay for their drink. There were few or no shops 
in the town, and but one in each of the streets of 
Musselburgh and Fisherrow, where even a pound of 
sugar could be bought, and that alw^ays one penny 
per pound dearer than at Edinburgh ; so that they had 
very little sale at a time when a woman would have 
run to Edinburgh w^ith her basket, and brought half a 
hundredweight for a groat, which did not rise to 
above sixpence till after the year 1760. 

There were no lodging-houses at this time in the 
town, and as it was a dragoon quarter, where generally 
two troops lay, the officers were obliged to accept 
their billets in burghers' houses. The only lodging I 
remember was in a by-street, between Musselburgh 
and Newbigging, where the late General George Ward 
and his chum lodged for a year, and where a corporal 
and his wife would not think themselves well accom- 
modated now. As in those days the dragoons gene- 
rally stayed two years in Scotland, and did not always 


change quarters at the end of a year, I became inti- 
mate with Ward, then a lieutenant, a sensible man 
and a good scholar, and pleasant company, though he 

I have not yet mentioned the two most able inhabi- 
tants here at this time, who were Alexander Wood, 
surgeon, and Commissioner Cardonnel. Sandie Wood 
was very young, not above twenty-one or twenty-two ; 
but there being an opening here by means of the 
illness of the senior practitioner, Wood was in\dted 
out by a few of the principal people, and got immed- 
iately into some business. His father, an opident 
farmer in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, had bound 
him an apprentice to his brother, a surgeon, weU 
employed by people of inferior rank, and surgeon 
to the poorhouse, then recently erected. Sandie 
Wood was a handsome stout feUow, with fine black 
eyes, and altogether of an agreeable and engaging 
appearance. He was perfectly illiterate in every- 
thing that did not belong to his own profession, in 
which even he was *by no means a great student. 
Some scrapes he got into with women drove him 
from this place in two or three years for his good. 
One gentlewoman he got with child, and did not 
marry. When he had got over this difficulty, another 
fell with child to him, whom he married. She died 
of her child ; and Sanders was soon after called to a 
berth in Edinburgh, on the death of his uncle. 

Sanders supplied his want of learning with good 
sense, and a mind as decisive as his eye was quick. 


He knew the symptoms of diseases with a glance, and 
having no superfluous talk about politics or news — for 
books very few of the profession knew anything about 
— he wasted no time in idle talk, like many of his 
brethren, but passed on through steep and narrow 
lanes, and upright stairs of six or seven stories high, 
by which means he got soon into good business, and 
at last, his hands being as good as his eyes, on the 
death of George Lauder he became the greatest and 
most successful operator for the stone, and for all 
other difficult cases. His manners were careless and 
unpolished, and his roughness often offended ; but it 
was soon discovered that, in spite of his usual 
demeanour, he was remarkably tender-hearted, and 
never slighted any case where there was the least 
danger. I found him always a very honest, friendly, 
and kind physician. He is doing business yet in his 
seventy-fourth year, and although his faculties are 
impaired, and his operations long over, he gives satis- 
faction to his patients. He has always been convivial, 
belongs to many clubs, and sings a good song. 

The other person was Mansfelt Cardonnel, Esq., 
Commissioner of the Customs. His father, Adam de 
Cardonnel (for they were French Protestants by de- 
scent), had been secretary to the Duke of Schomberg, 
who was killed at the battle of the Boyne, at the age 
of eighty. He had been aff'ronted the day before by 
King William not having intrusted him as usual with 
his plan of the battle, as Adam de Cardonnel told 
his son. Another brother, James, was secretary to 


the Duke of Marlborough, and had made a large for- 
tune. His daughter and heiress was Lady Talbot, 
mother of Lord Dynevor. My friend's mother 
was a natural daughter of the Duke of Mon- 
mouth ; and as he was by some other line related to 
Waller the poet, he used to boast of his being de- 
scended from the Usurper as well as the royal line. 
He was not a man of much depth or genius, but he 
had a rio;ht soimd understanding;, and was a man of 
great honour and integrity, and the most agreeable 
companion that ever was. He excelled in story- 
telling, like his great-grandfather, Charles H., but 
he seldom or ever repeated them, and indeed had 
such a collection as served to season every conversa- 
tion. He was very fond of my companions, particu- 
larly of John Home, who was very often with me. 
On a very limited income he lived very hospitably ; 
he had many children, but only one son, a doctor, 
remained. The son is now Adam de Cardonnel Law- 
son of Chirton, close by Sheills, a fine estate that was 
left him by a Mr Hilton Lawson, a cousin of his 
mother's, whose name was Hilton, of the Hilton 
Castle family, near Sunderland.* 

There was another gentleman, whom I must men- 

* There is an "Adam de Cardonnel" known as the author of a work on 
the Scottish Coinage, and of Picturesque Antiquities of Scotland, containing 
etchings of many of the ruined ecclesiastical and baronial buildings of Scot- 
lancL The editor has often endeavoured, without success, to find out who 
it was that took so much interest in these architectural relics, and made so 
meritorious an effort to represent them in his sketches. From his peculiar 
name there can be little doubt that he was a member of the family referred 
to by the author. — Ed. 


tion, who then lived at Lorretto, a Mr Hew Forbes, a 
Principal Clerk of Session, He was a nephew of the 
celebrated President Duncan Forbes, and had, at the 
request of his uncle, purchased Lorretto from John 
Steel, a minion of the President's, who had been a 
singer in the concert, but had lost his voice, and was 
patronised by his lordship, and had for some years 
kept a celebrated tavern in that house. Hew Forbes 
was the second of three brothers, whom I have seen 
together, and, to my taste, had more wit and was 
more agreeable than either of them. Arthur, the 
eldest, laird of Pittencrieff and a colonel in the Dutch 
service, was a man of infinite humour, which consisted 
much in his instantaneous and lively invention of 
fictions and tales to illustrate or ridicule the conver- 
sation that was going on ; and as his tales were in- 
offensive, though totally void of truth, they afforded 
great amusement to every company. The third bro- 
ther, John, was the gentleman w^ho retrieved our 
affairs in North America, after Braddock's defeat. He 
was an accomplished, agreeable gentleman, but there 
appeared to me to be more effort and less naivete in 
his conversation than in that of Hew, whose humour 
was genuine and natural. 

AVith so many resident families of distinction, my 
situation was envied as superior to most clergymen 
for good company and agreeable society ; and so it 
was at that period preferable to what it has often 
been since, when the number of genteel families was 
doubled or tripled, as they have long been. But 


though I lived very well with the upper families, and 
could occasionally consort with the burgesses, some 
of whom, though unpolished, were sensible, people ; 
yet my chief society was with John Home, and Eo- 
bertson, and Bannatine, and George Logan, who were 
clergymen about my own age, and very accomplished. 
In the month of October this year I had a very 
agreeable jaunt toDimifriesshire to attend the marriage 
of my cousin, Jean Wight, with John Hamilton, the 
minister of Bolton. She was very handsome, sprightly, 
and agreeable — about twenty ; he a sensible, knowing 
man. . . .* John Home was his "best man;" I was 
the lady's attendant of the same occupation, according 
to the fashion of the times. We set out together on 
horseback, but so contrived it that we had very little 
of the bridegroom ; for being in a greater haste to 
get to his journey's end than we were, he was always 
at the baiting- place an hour before us, where, after our 
meal, we lingered as long after he had departed. Our 
grandfather Robison wished to solemnise this first 
marriage of any of his grandchildren at his own 
house at Tinwald, which, though an ordinary manse, 
had thirty people to sleep in it for two or three nights. 
John Home and I had been one day in Dumfries with 
the bridegroom, where we met with George Banna- 
tine, our friend Hew's brother, at that time minister 

* The rest of his character is scored out, so as to be totally ill^ble ; 
and in the handwriting in which the original MS. is altered throughout, the 
sentence stands, " He was not less than thirty-five ; and though a sensible, 
knowing man, was in other respects seemingly unsuitable for a young and 
lively woman." 


of Craigie. As he was an old schoolfellow of Hamil- 
ton's, we easily induced him. to ask him to the mar- 
riage ; and George, having a great deal of Falstaffian 
humour, helped much to enliven the company. Home 
and he and I, with Willie Wight, the bride's brother, 
then a fine lad of eighteen, had to ride four miles into 
Dumfries to our lodgings at Provost Bell's, another 
uncle of mine, after supper, where Bannatine's vein of 
humour kept us in perpetual laughter. 

I shall take this opportunity of correcting a mistake 
into which the English authors have fallen, in which 
they are supported by many of the Scotch writers, 
particularly by those of the Mirror, — which is, that the 
people of Scotland have no humour. That this is a 
gross mistake, could be proved by innumerable songs, 
ballads, and stories that are prevalent in the south of 
Scotland, and by every person old enough to remem- 
ber the times when the Scottish dialect was spoken in 
purity in the low country, and who have been at all 
conversant with the common people. Since we began 
to affect speaking a foreign language, which the English 
dialect is to us, humour, it must be confessed, is less 
apparent in conversation. The ground of this preten- 
sion in the English to the monopoly of humour is their 
confounding two characters together that are quite 
different — the humorist and the man of humour. 
The humorist prevails more in England than in any 
country, because liberty has long been universal there, 
and wealth very general, which I hold to be the father 
and mother of the humorist. This mistake has been 


confirmed by the abject Iminour of the Scotch, who, 
till of late years, allowed John Bull, out of flattery, 
to possess every quality to which he pretended. 

John Home was an admirable companion, and most 
acceptable to all strangers who were not offended 
with the levities of a young clergyman, for he was 
very handsome and had a fine person, about 5 feet 
10 J inches, and an agreeable catching address ; he 
had not much wit, and still less humour, but he had 
so much sprightliness and vivacity, and such an ex- 
pression of benevolence in his manner, and such an 
unceasing flattery of those he liked (and he never 
kept company with anybody else) — the kind commen- 
dations of a lover, not the adulation of a sycophant — 
that he was truly irresistible, and his entry to a com- 
pany was like opening a window and letting the sun 
into a dark room. 

After passing eight days at Dumfries, with such a 
variety of amusement as would fill half a volume of a 
novel, we returned with our young couple home to 
East Lothian, and passed two or three days with them 
at their residence. 

There was an assistant preacher at Inveresk when I 
was ordained, whose name was George Anderson, the 
son of a clergjrman in Fife, and, by his mother, grand- 
son of a Professor Campbell of Edinburgh, who made 
a figure in the divinity chair towards the end of the 
seventeenth century. His aunt was the mother of Dr 
John Gregory of Edinburgh ; but he had not partaken 
of the smallest spark of genius fix)m either of the 

224 THE minister's ASSISTANT. 

families. He was good-natured and laborious in the 
parish, however, and likely to fall into the snare of 
such kind of people, by partaking of their morning 
hospitality — viz. a dram, very usual in those days. 
He was reckoned an excellent preacher by the com- 
mon people, because he got a sermon faithfully by 
heart (liis father's, I suppose), and delivered it with a 
loudness and impetuosity surpassing any schoolboy, 
without making a halt or stop from beginning to 
end. This galloping sort of preaching pleased the 
lairds as well as the people, for Sir David Kinloch was 
much taken with him, and he would have been popu- 
lar in all respects had not his conversation and con- 
duct betrayed his folly. With a very small income, 
he ventured [to marry] a handsome sempstress, Peggy 
Derquier, the daughter of a Swiss ensign, who had 
got into the British army. They had children, and a 
very slender subsistence, not above £40 per annum, 
so that I was obliged to look about for some better 
berth for them. At last, in 1751, a place cast up in 
South Carolina, to which he and his family were with 
difficulty sent out, as a sum of money had to be bor- 
rowed to fit out him and his wife and two children 
for the voyage. I was one of his securities for the 
money, and lost nothing but the interest of £50 for 
two years. His wife was mettlesome, and paid up 
the money the year after he died, which was not 
above two years ; for poor George, being a guzzling 
fellow, could not remain long enough from Charles- 
town, near which his meeting-house was, till he re- 


covered his strength after a severe fever : the nim- 
punch got the better of him, and he relapsed and 
died. His widow, being still handsome and broody, 
married well next time, and got her children well 
provided for. 

In a ludicrous poem which John Home wrote on 
the march of his Volunteers to the battle of Falkirk, 
he gives Anderson his character under the nickname 
of Lungs — for the wags called him Carlyle's Lungs 
on account of his loud preaching — of which I remem- 
ber one line, — 

" And if you did not Wat him. Lungs was pleasetl." 

Like other gluttons, Lungs was a coward, and the 
first man at Leith after the battle — for he was a 
Volunteer in the company of which Home was a lieu- 
tenant — and showed his activity chiefly in providing 
the company with victuals and drink, in begging of 
which he had no shame. 


1748-1753 : AGE, 2f)-:il.. 







In winter 1748 I remained much at home in my 
own parish, performing my duties, and becoming 
acquainted with my flock. The Cheaps took a house 
in Edinburgh this winter to entertain Captain Cheap, 
who, being a man past fifty, and a good deal worn 
out, his very sensible niece thought he would never 
marry, and therefore brought her young female com- 
panions about to amuse him. Among the rest she 
had much with her the Widow Bro-wn, Anny Clerk 
that was, whose husband. Major Brown [was kiUed 
at the battle of Falkirkf]. She was a handsome, 
lively coquette as ever was, being of a gay temper 

* For further information on the ecclesiastical affairs of the time discussetl 
in this chapter, the reader is referred to Annals of the General Aaseinhly of 
the Church of Scotland from 1739 to 1706, known as "Morren's Annals," 
and to The Church Hidory of Scotland, by the Rev. John Cunningham, 
minister of Crieff, 1859. 

+ Left blank by Carlyle, and tilled uj) in another hand. 


and a slight understanding. My sagacious friend had 
taken her measures ill indeed, for, as she told me 
afterwards, she never dreamt that her grave respect- 
able uncle would be catched with a woman of Mrs 
Brown's description. But he was so captivated at 
the very first glance that he very soon proposed mar- 
riage; and having executed his design, and taken the 
House of Preston for next summer, they came and 
lived there for several months, where I saw them fre- 
quently, and was asked to marry a niece of hers with 
a gentleman at Dunbar, which I accordingly did. 
They went to Bath and London, where his niece joined 
him in 1749. 

It was in the General Assembly of this year that 
some zealous west-couutry clergymen formed the plan 
of applying to Parliament for a general augmentation 
of stipends, by raising the minimum from 800 merks 
to 10 chalders of grain, or its value in money. The 
clergy having shown great loyalty and zeal during 
the Kebeliion in 1745, which was acknowledged by 
Government, they presumed that they would obtain 
favour on this occasion ; but they had not consulted 
the landed interest, nor even taken the leaders among 
the Whigs along with them, which was the cause of 
their miscarriage. The committee appointed by this 
Assembly to prepare the form of their application, 
brought it into next Assembly, and by a very great 
majority agreed to send commissioners to London the 
session thereafter to prosecute their claim, which, 
when it failed, raised some ill-humour, for they had 


been very sanguine. Dr Patrick Cuming, who was 
then the leader of the Moderate party, lent his whole 
aid to this scheme, and was one of the commissioners. 
This gave him still a greater lead among the clergy. 
The same thing happened to Lord Drummore, the 
judge, who espoused their cause warmly. On the 
other hand, Principal Wishart and his brother George 
followed Dundas of Arniston, the first President of 
that name, and lost their popularity. Of the two 
brothers AVilliam and George Wishart, sons of Princi- 
pal Wishart, William the eldest, and Principal of the 
University of Edinburgh, was the most learned and 
ingenuous, but he had been for seventeen years a 
dissenting minister in London, and returned with 
dissenting principles. He had said some things rashly 
while the augmentation scheme was going on, which 
betrayed contempt of the clergy ; and as he was rich, 
and had the expectation of still more — being the heir 
of his two uncles. Admiral and General Wisharts, of 
Queen Anne's reign — his sayings gave still greater 
ofi'ence, George, the younger brother, was milder and 
more temperate, and was a more acceptable preacher 
than his brother, though inferior to him in genius; 
but his understanding was sound, and his benevolence 
unbounded, so that he had many friends. When his 
brother, who misled him about ecclesiastical affairs, 
died in 1754, he came back to the Moderate party, and 
was much respected among us. 

About this period it was that John Home and I, 
being left alone with Dr Patrick Cuming after a 


synod supper, lie pressed us to stay with him a little 
longer, and during an hour or twos conversation, 
beiug desirous to please us, who, he thought, would be 
of some consequence in church courts, he threw out 
all his lures to gain us to be his implicit followers; 
but he failed in his purpose, having gone too far in 
his animosity to George Wishart — for we gave up the 
Principal. We said to each other when we parted that 
we would support him when he acted right, but would 
never be intimate with him as a friend. 

It was the custom at this time for the patrons of 
parishes, when they had litigations about settlements, 
which sometimes lasted for years, to open public- 
houses to entertain the members of Assembly, which 
was a very gross and offensive abuse. The Duke of 
Douglas had a cause of this kind, which lasted for 
three Assemblies, on which occasion it was that his 
commissioner. White of Stockbridge, opened a daily 
table for a score of people, which vied with the Lord 
Commissioner's for dinners, and surpassed it far in 
wine. White, who was a low man, was delighted 
with the respect which these dinners procured him. 
After the case was finished, Stockbridge kept up his 
table while he lived, for the honour of the family, 
where I have often dined, after his Grace's suit was 
at an end. There was another of the same kind that 
lasted longer, the case of St Ninian's, of which Sir Hew 
Paterson was patron. 

John Home, and Robertson, and Logan, and I, 
entered into a resolution to dine with none of them 


while their suits were in dependence. This resolution 
we kept inviolably when we were members, and we 
were followed by many of our friends. Dr Patrick 
Cuming did not like this resolution of ours, as it 
showed us to be a little untractable ; but it added to 
our importance ; and after that no man, not even 
Lord Drummore, to whom I was so much obliged, 
and who was a keen party man, ever solicited my vote 
in any judicial case. 

The Lord President Dundas, who led the opposition 
to the scheme of augmentation, was accounted the 
first lawyer this country ever had bred. He was a 
man of a high and ardent mind, a most persuasive 
speaker, and to me, who met him but seldom in 
private, one of the ablest men I had ever seen. He 
declined soon after this, and was for two or three 
years laid aside from business before his death. 

Hew, Earl of Marchmont, appeared in this Assem- 
bly, who had been very ignorantly extolled by Pope, 
whose hemistichs stamped characters in those days.'^' 

In winter 1749 it was that John Home went to 
London with his tragedy of Agis, to try to bring 

* " Lo, th' jEgerian grot, 

Where nobly pensive St John sat and tliought, 

Where Britisli sighs from dying Wyndham stole, 

And the bright flame was shot through Marchmont's soul." 

The passage cited farther on (p. 152) is from the inverted characters in the 
epilogue to the "Satires : " — 

"Cobham's a coward, Polwarth is a sla^'e, 
And Littleton a dark designing knave." 

About Lord Polwarth, afterwards Earl of Marchmont, and other members 
of his family, abundant information will be f oxmd in " A Selection from the 
Papers of the Earls of Marchmont," .3 vols., 18.31. — Ed. 


it on the stage, in wliicli he failed ; which was the 
cause of his turning his thoughts on the tragedy of 
Douglas after his return. Pie had a recommenda- 
tion to Mr Lyttleton, afterwards Lord Lyttleton, 
whom he could not so much as prevail with to read 
his tragedy ; and his brother, afterwards a bishop, 
would not so much as look at it, as he said he had 
turned his thoughts to natural history. Home was 
enraged, but not discouraged. I had given him a 
letter to Smollett, with whom he contracted a sincere 
friendship, and he consoled himself for the neglect he 
met with by the warm approbation of the Doctor, and 
of John Blair and his friend Barrow, an English physi- 
cian, who had escaped with him from the Castle of 
Doune, and who made him acquainted with CoUins 
the poet, with whom he grew very intimate. He 
extended not his acquaintance much further at this 
time, except to a Governor Melville, a native of Dun- 
bar, of whom he was fond ; and passed a good deal of 
time with Captain Cheap's family, which was then in 

I had several letters from him at that time which 
displayed the character he always maintained, which 
was a thorough contempt of his non-approvers, and a 
blind admiration of those who approved of his works, 
and gave him a good reception, whom he attached 
still more to him by the most caressing manners, and 
the sincere and fervent flattery of a lover. In all the 
periods of his long life his opinions of men and things 
were merely prejudices. 


It was in the year 1750, I think, that he gave his 
manse (for he boarded himself in a house in the vil- 
lage) to Mr Hepburn of Keith, and his family — a 
gentleman of pristine faith and romantic valour, who 
had been in both the Rebellions, in 1715 and '45; and 
had there been a third, as was projected at this time, 
would have joined it also. Add to this, that Mr Hep- 
burn was an accomplished gentleman, and of a simple 
and winning elocution, who said nothing in vain. 
His wife, and his daughters by a former lady, resem- 
bled him in his simplicity of mind, but propagated 
his doctrines with more openness and ardour, and a 
higher admiration of implicit loyalty and romantic 
heroism. It was the seductive conversation of this 
family that gradually softened and cooled Mr Home's 
aversion to the Pretender and to Jacobites (for he had 
been a very warm AVhig in the time of the Rebellion), 
and prepared him for the life he afterwards led. 

Mr Home, in his History of the Rebellion, has 
praised this gentleman for an act of gallant behaviour 
in becoming Gentleman-Usher to Prince Charles, by 
ushering him into the Abbey with his sword drawn. 
This has been on false information ; for his son, Colo- 
nel Riccard Hepburn, denied to me the possibility of 
it, his father being a person of invincible modesty, 
and void of all ostentation. The Colonel added, that 
it \^as his father's fortune to be praised for qualities he 
did not possess — for learning, for instance, of which he 
had no great tincture, but in mathematics — while his 
prime quality was omitted, which was the most equal 

home's "DOUGLAS." 233 

and placid temper with which ever mortal was en- 
dowed ; for in his whole life he was never once out of 
temper, nor did ever a muscle of his face alter on any 
occurrence. One instance he told of a serving-boy hav- 
ing raised much disturbance one day in the kitchen or 
hall. When his father rose to see what was the matter, 
he found the boy had wantonly run a spit through 
the cat, which lay sprawling. He said not a word, 
but took the boy by the shoulder, led him out of the 
house door, and locked it after him, and returned 
in silence to play out his game of chess with his 

It was from his having heard Mrs Janet Denoon, 
Mr Hepburn's sister-in-law, sing the old ballad of 
"Gd Morrice," that he [Home] first took his idea 
of the tragedy of Douglas, which, five years after- 
wards, he carried to London, for he was but an idle 
composer, to off"er it for the stage, but with the same 
bad success as formerly. The length of time he took, 
however, tended to bring it to perfection ; for want 
of success, added to his natural openness, made him 
communicate his compositions to his friends, whereof 
there were some of the soundest judgment, and of 
the most exquisite taste. Of the first sort there were 
Drs Blair and Eobertson, and Mr Hew Bannatine ; 
and of the second, Patrick Lord Elibank, the Hepburn 
family, and some young ladies with whom he and I 
had become intimate — viz.. Miss Hepburn of Monk- 
riggs. Lord Milton's niece ; Miss Eliza Fletcher, after- 
wards Mrs Wedderburn, his youngest daughter ; and 


Miss Campbell of Carrick, at that time their great 
friend. As Home himself wrote a hand that was 
hardly legible, and at that time could ill afford to 
hire an amanuensis, I copied Douglas several times 
over for him — which, by means of the corrections of 
all the friends I have mentioned, and the fine and 
decisive criticisms of the late Sir Gilbert Elliot, had 
attained to the perfection with which it was acted ; 
for at this time Home was tractable, and listened to 
our remarks. 

It was at this period that George Logan, the son of 
a minister in Edinburgh of note, was presented to 
the church of Ormiston, vacant by the translation of 
Mr Hew Bannatine to Dirleton. Logan was a man 
of parts and genius, and of a particular turn to 
mathematical and metaphysical studies, but he was 
of an indolent and dilatory disposition. When he 
passed trials before the Presbytery of Dalkeith, he 
met with unexpected opposition. AYlien he came to 
the last of his discourses, which was the popular 
sermon, from Heb. ii. 10 was appointed to him. He 
came home with me, and inquiring if my popular 
sermon, when I was licensed by the Presbytery of 
Haddington, was not on the same text, which was 
the case, he pressed me to lend it to him, as it would 
save him much trouble, to which I with reluctance 
consented. He copied it almost verbatim, and deli- 
vered it at our next meeting.* Being averse to 

* Popular Sermon. The sermon preached to the people of the parish by 
a presentee, as distinguished from the other trials of his fitness, which take 


Logan, many of them thought there was heresy in it, 
and insisted on an inquiry, and that a copy should be 
deposited with the Clerk. This inquiry went on for 
several meetings, till at last Logan, being impatient, 
as he had a young lady engaged to marry him, took 
the first opportunity of appealing to the Synod. 
After several consnltations with our ablest divines, 
who were Drs Wish art and Wallace, with Professor 
Goldie, and Messrs Dalgleish of Linlithgow, Nassmith 
of Dalmeny, and Stedman of Haddington, it was 
agreed that Logan's sermon was perfectly orthodox, 
and that the Presbytery in their zeal had run into 
heretical opinions, insomuch that those friends were 
clear in their judgment that the panel should be 
assoilzied and the Presbytery taken to task. But the 
motive I have already mentioned induced young 
Logan to be desirous of making matters up without 
irritating the Presbytery, and therefore it was agreed 
that he should make a slight apology to the Presby- 
tery, and that they should be ordained to proceed in 
the settlement. Yet, in spite of this sacrifice to peace, 
the zealots of the Presbytery still endeavoured to 
delay the settlement by embarrassing him on what is 
called the extempore trials ; but as he was an able 
and a learned young man, he baffled them all in an 

pliice in the presence of the Presbytery. The Logan here mentioned is not 
the poet ; and it is perhaps still more necessary to distinguish him from a 
contemporary, (Jeorge Logan, also a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, 
and eminent in his day for a long and bitter political controversy with Rud- 
diman the grammarian. The affair of the censured sermon is mentioned in 
Mackenzie's account of Home, p. 12. — Ed. 


examination of three hours, four or five times longer 
than usual, when he answered all their questions, and 
refuted all their cavils in such a masterly manner, as 
turned the chase in the opinion of the bystanders, and 
made the Presbytery appear to be heretical, instead 
of the person accused. 

Amons the accusers of Loo-an, the most violent 
were Plenderleath of Dalkeith, Primrose at Crichton, 
Smith at Cranston, Watson at Newbottle, and Walker 
at Temple. The first had been a minion of Dr George 
Wishart's, and set out as one of the most moral preach- 
ers at the very top of the Moderate interest, giving 
offence by his quotations from Shaftesbury ; but being 
very weak, both in body and mind, he thought to 
compensate for his disability by affecting a change of 
sentiment, and coming over to the popular side, both 
in his sermons and his votes in the courts. He w^as 
truly but a poor soul, and might have been pardoned, 
but for his hypocrisy. Primrose was a shallow pedant, 
who was puffed up by the flattery of his brethren to 
think himself an eminent scholar because he was 
pretty well acquainted with the system, and a person 
of a high independent mind because he was rich and 
could speak impertinently to his heritors, and build a 
manse of an uncommon size and pay for the overplus. 
He had a fluent elocution in the dialect of Moray- 
shire, embellished with English of his own invention ; 
but with all this he had no common sense. Smith 
was a sly northern, seemingly very temperate, but a 
great counsellor of his neighbour and countryman 


Primrose. Watson was a dark inquisitor, of some 
parts. AYalker was a rank enttiusiast, with nothing 
but heat without light. John Bonar at Cockpen, 
though of the High party, was a man of sense — an 
excellent preacher ; he was temperate in his opposi- 
tion. Robin Paton, though gentlemanly, was feeble 
in church courts. His father was just dead, so that I 
had no zealous supporter but Rab Simson and David 
Gilchrist at Newton. On those inferior characters I 
need not dwell. 

Losran was settled at Ormiston and married, not 
three years after which he died of a high brain fever. 
John Home and I felt our loss. A strong proof of 
our opinion of his ability was, that a very short time 
before his death we had prevailed with him to make 
David Hume's philosophical works his particular study, 
and to refute the dangerous parts of them — a task for 
which we thought him fully equal. This was sixteen or 
eighteen years before Beattie thought of it. Dr Wight 
and I saw him [Beattie] frequently at Aberdeen in 1 765 
or 1766, when he opened his design to us, from which 
we endeavoured to dissuade him, having then a settled 
opinion that such metaphysical essays and treatises — 
as they were seldom read, certainly never understood, 
but by the few whose minds were nearly on a level 
with the author — had best be left without the celebrity 
of an answer. It was on occasion of this trial of Logan 
that we first took umbrage at Robert Dundas, junior, 
of Arniston, then Solicitor-General, who could easily 
have drawn oflf the Presbytery of Dalkeith from their 


illiberal pursuit, and was applied to for that purpose 
by some friends, who were refused. His father, the 
President, was by this time laid aside. 

It was in the year 1751 or 1752, I think, that a 
few of us of the Moderate party were for two or three 
days united in a case that came before the Synod of 
Lothian in May, with Dr Alexander Webster, the 
leader of the high-flying party. Webster, with a few 
more of his brethren, whereof Drs Jardine and Wal- 
lace were two, had objected to Mr John Johnstone, a 
new chaplain of the Castle, being admitted to a seat 
in the Presbytery of Edinburgh. They were defeated 
in the Presbytery by a great majority, on which they 
appealed to the Synod, when a few of us, taking part 
with the minority, had an opportunity of seeing 
Webster very closely. 

Our conclusions on this acquaintance were (and we 
never altered them), that though he was a clever fel- 
low, an excellent and ready speaker, fertile in expe- 
dients, and prompt in execution, yet he had by no 
means a leading or decisive mind, and consequently 
was unfit to be the head of a party. He had no 
scruples ; for, with a little temporary heating, he 
seemed to be entirely without principle. There was 
at this time a Mr John Hepburn, minister in the Old 
Greyfriars, who, though he never appeared to take 
any share in ecclesiastical affairs but by his vote, was 
in secret Webster's counsellor and director, so that 
while he lived, Webster did well as the ostensible head 
of his party. Mr Hepburn was grandfather of the 


present Earl of Hyndford, and the son of a celebi-ated 
mountaineer in Galloway, the Rev. Mr John Hepburn, 
in Queen Anne's time.* But when he [Hepburn] died 
not long after, he [Webster] fell into the hands of Dr 
Jardine, who managed him with great dexterity, for 
he allowed him to adhere jto his party, but restrained 
him from soin» too far. As Jardine was son-in-law 
to Provost Drummond, with whom Webster wished 
to be well, Jardine, who had much sagacity, with 
great versatility of genius, and a talent for the man- 
agement of men, had not such a difficult task as one 
would have imagined. Webster had published a 
satirical sermon against Sir Robert Walpole, for which 
he had been taken to task in the General Assembly 
by the Earl of Islay, by this time Duke of Argyle, and 
of great political power in Scotland. Webster, in 
case of accidents, wished to have a friendly mediator 
between him and the Duke. This is the true key to 
all his political disingenuity. 

Webster had justly obtained much respect amongst 
the clergy, and all ranks, indeed, for having estab- 
lished the Widows' Fund ; for though Dr Wallace, who 
was an able mathematician, had made the calcula- 
tions, Webster had the merit of carr}'ing the scheme 
into execution. Having married a lady of fashion, 
who had a fortune of £4000 (an estate in those days), 
he kept better company than most of the clergy. His 

* Tbe term "mountaineer" is a metonymy for hillman or Covenanter. 
Daniel Carmichael of ilauldsley, whose son Andrew Ijecame sixth Earl of 
Hyndford, married in 1742 Emilia, daughter of the Rev. John Hepburn- — 
Wood's Peerage^ L 759. — Ed. 


appearance of great strictness in religion, to whicL he 
was bred under his father, who was a very popular min- 
ister of the Tolbooth Church, not acting in restraint of 
his convivial humour, he was held to be excellent com- 
pany, even by those of dissolute manners ; while, being 
a five-bottle man, he could lay them all under the table. 
This had [brought] on him the nickname of Dr Bonum 
Magnum in the time of faction ; but never being in- 
decently the worse of liquor, and a love of claret to 
any degree not being reckoned in those days a sin in 
Scotland, all his excesses were pardoned.* 

When it was discovered that Jardine led him, his 
party became jealous ; and it was no wonder, for he 
used to undermine them by his speeches, and vote 
mth them to save appearances. But the truly up- 
right and honourable men among them, such as Drs 
Erskine and Hunter, &c., could not think of part- 
ing with his abilities, which, both in the pulpit and 
the Assembly, gave some lustre to their party. He 
could pass at once from the most unbounded jol- 
lity to the most fervent devotion ; yet I believe 
that his hypocrisy was no more than habit grounded 
merely on temper, and that his aptness to pray was 

* Dr Alexander Webster and Dr Robert Wallace were both men of mucli 
celebrity in their day as clergA'men of the Chiu'ch of Scotland. Of Webster's 
very peculiar characteristics there is jierhaps a fuller account in this work 
than anywhere else. Wallace, who was a man of less notal)le peculiarities, 
wrote several books, the most remarkable of which is A Dlsserfcdion on the, 
Niimhers of Manhmd in Ancient and Modern Times, which, along with 
Hume's Essay on the populousness of ancient nations, contributed some 
ideas subsequently brought to on the great discussion on populatifin 
inaiigurated by Malthus. — Ed. 

DR WEBSl'ER. 241 

as easy and natural to him as to drink a convivial 
glass. His famOiar saying, however, that it was his 
lot to drink with gentlemen and to vote with fools, 
made too full a discovery of the laxity of his mind. 
Indeed, he lived too long to preserve any respect; 
for in his latter years his sole object seemed to be 
where to find means of inebriety, which he at last 
too often efiected, for his constitution ha'S'ing lost 
its vigour, he was sent home almost every evening 
like other drunkards who could not boast of strength. 
Besides the £4000 he got with his lady, he spent 
£6000 more, which was left him by Miss Hunter, one 
of his pious disciples, which legacy did not raise his 
character. In aid of his fortune, when it was nearly 
draiued, he was appointed Collector of the Widows' 
Fund when a ^Ir Stewart died, who was the first, and 
likewise obtained one of the deaneries from the Crown. 
When the New Town of Edinburgh came to be planned 
out, he was employed by the magistrates, which grati- 
fied his two strongest desires — his love of business 
and of conviviality, in both of which he excelled. 
The business was all done in the tavern, where there 
was a daily dinner, which cost the town in the course 
of the year £500, the whole of an additional revenue 
which had been discovered a httle while before by 
Buchan, the Town's Chamberlain. He had done many 
private and public iQJuries to me in spite of the sup- 
port I and my friends had given him in his cause 
before the Synod in May 1752, for which I did not 
spare him when I had an opportunity, by treating 



him with that rough raillery which the fashion of 
the times authorised, which he bore with inimitable 
patience ; and when I rose into some consideration, he 
rather courted than shunned my company, with the 
perfect knowledge of what I thought of him. 

As John Home and I had made speeches in his 
support at the Synod, he thought he could do no less 
than invite us to dinner on the day after : we went 
accordingly, and were well enough received by him, 
while his lady treated us not only with neglect, but 
even with rudeness ; while she caressed with the 
utmost kindness Adams of Falkirk, the very person 
who, by disobeying the Assembly and escaping un- 
hurt in 1751, drew the thunder of the Church on 
Gillespie the following year. 

Another instance of Webster's hostility to me hap- 
pened some time afterwards. His colleague, Mr 
William Gusthart, who was a very old man, and 
lived for many summers in my parish, and at last the 
whole year round, engaged me to preach for him in 
the Tolbooth Church one Sunday afternoon. I was 
averse to this service, as I knew I would not be 
acceptable in that congregation. But being urged by 
the old man and his family, I agreed, and went to 
town, and preached to a very thin audience. I was 
afterwards certainly informed that Webster had sent 
round to many of his principal families, warning them 
that I was to do duty for his colleague, and hoping 
that they would not give countenance to a person 
who had attended the theatre. This, I think, was in 


1759, two years after I had foiled the High party in 
the General Assembly. This I considered as most 
malicious ; and with this I frequently taxed him in 
very plain terms indeed. There were a few of us 
who, besides the levity of youth and the Datural free- 
dom of our mauners, had an express design to throw 
contempt on that vile species of hypocrisy which 
magnified an indecorum into a crime, and gave an 
air of false sanctimony and Jesuitism to the greatest 
part of the clergy, and was thereby pernicious to 
rational religion. In this plan we succeeded, for in 
the midst of our freedom having preserved respect and 
obtained a leading in the Church, we freed the clergy 
from many unreasonable and h3rpocritical restraints. 

I have dwelt longer on Dr Webster than on any 
other person, because such characters are extremely 
pernicious, as they hold up an example to unprin- 
cipled youth how far they may play fast and loose 
with professed principles without being entirely un- 
done ; and how far they may proceed in dissipation 
of manner without entirely forfeiting the public good 
opinion. But let the young clergy observe, that very 
few indeed are capable of exhibiting for their protec- 
tion such useful talents, or of displaying such agree- 
able manners as Dr Webster did in compensation for 
his faults. 

In 1751 the schoolmaster of Musselburgh died, a 
Mr Munro, who had only seven scholars and one 
boarder, he and his wife had become so impopular. 
As the magistrates of Musselburgh came in place of 


the heritors as patrons of the school, by a transaction 
with them about the mortcloths, the emoluments of 
which the heritors gave up on the town's agreeing to 
pay the salary, I took the opportunity that this gave 
me as joint patron to persuade them, as their school 
had fallen so low, to fill it up by a comparative trial 
before a committee of Presbytery, with Sir David 
Dalrymple and Dr Blair as assessors, when a Mr Jeffry, 
from the Merse, showed so much superiority that he 
was unanimously elected. He soon raised the school 
to some eminence, and got about twenty-five or thirty 
boarders the second year. When he died, eight or ten 
years afterwards, his daughters, by my advice, took 
up the first female boarding-school that ever was there, 
which has been kept up with success ever since ; and 
such has been the encouragement that two others have 
been well supported also. On Jefiiy's death, John Mur- 
ray succeeded him, who did well also. When he grew 
old, I got him to resign on a pension, and had John 
Taylor to succeed him, who has surpassed them all, 
having got as far as seventy boarders, his wife being 
the best qualified of any person I ever knew in her 

It was in this year, 1751, the foundation was laid 
for the restoration of the discipline of the Church the 
next year, in which Dr Robertson, John Home, and I 
had such an active hand. Mr Adams, at Falkirk, had 
disobeyed a sentence of the General Assembly, ap- 
pointing the Presbytery of Linlithgow to settle Mr 
Watson, minister of the parish of Torphichen, to which 


he had been presented, and for which, after trial, he 
was found fiiUy qualified. Mr Adams had been ap- 
pointed nominatim by the Act of Assembly to preside 
at this ordination. This was the second year this 
Presbytery had disobeyed, because there was an oppo- 
sition in the parish. This had happened before, and 
the plea of conscience had always brought off the dis- 
obedient. The Assembly had fallen on a wretched 
expedient to settle presentees who were in this state. 
They appointed a committee of their number, who had 
no scruple to obey the sentence of the Supreme Court, 
to go to the parish on a certain day and ordain the 
presentee. This had been done in several instances 
with the very worst effect ; for the presbyteries hav- 
ing preserved their own popularity by their resistance, 
they had no interest in reconciling the minds of the 
people to their new pastor ; and accordingly, for most 
part, cherished their prejudices, and left the unfor- 
tunate young man to fight his way without help in the 
best manner he could. This was a great abuse, and 
was likely to destroy the subordination of church 
courts, which of old had been the great boast of our 
Presbyterian form of government, and had been very 
complete and perfect in early times. The departure 
from that strictness of discipline, and the adoption of 
expedients iD judicial cases, was of very recent growth, 
and was chiefly owing to the struggle against patron- 
ages after their restoration in the 10th of Queen Anne ; 
so that the Assembly had only to recur to her first 
principles and practice to restore her lost authority. 


So far was it from being true that Dr Eobertson was 
the inventor of this system, as was afterwards believed, 
and as the strain of Dugald Stewart's Life of Robertson 
has a tendency to support. 

The rise of the attempt to revive the ancient discip- 
line in this Assembly was as follows : — Some friends 
and companions having been w^ell informed that a 
great majority of the General Assembly 1751 were 
certainly to let Mr Adams of Falkirk, the disobedient 
brother, escape with a very slight censure, a select 
company of fifteen were called together in a tavern, a 
night or two before the case was to be debated in the 
Assembly, to consult what was to be done. There met 
accordingly in the tavern the Right Honourable the 
Lord Provost Drummond ; the Honourable William 
Master of Ross ; Mr Gilbert Elliot, j unior of Minto ; 
Mr Andrew Pringle, advocate ; Messrs Jardine, Blair, 
Robertson, John Home, Adam Dickson of Dunse, 
George Logan of Ormiston, Alexander Carlyle of 
Inveresk, and as many more as made fifteen, two of 
whom — viz. Logan and Carlyle— were not members of 
Assembly. The business was talked over, and having 
tlie advice of those two able lawyers, Messrs Elliot 
and Pringle, we were confirmed in our opinion that it 
was necessary to use every means in our power to 
restore the authority of the Church, otherwise her 
government would be degraded, and everything de- 
pending on her authority w^ould fall into confusion; 
and though success was not expected at this Assembly, 
as we knew that the judges, and many other respect- 


able elders, besides the opposite party of the clergy, 
were resolved to let Mr Adams and the disobedient 
Presbytery of Linlithgow escape with a very slight 
censure (an admonition only), yet we believed that, 
by keeping the object in view, good sense would pre- 
vail at last, and order be restored. We did not pro- 
pose deposition, but only suspension for six months, 
which, we thought, was meeting the opposite party 
half-way. John Home agreed to make the motion, 
and Eobertson to second him. Neither of them had 
ever spoken in the Assembly till then, and it was till 
that period unusual for young men to begin a debate. 
They plucked up spirit, however, and performed their 
promise, and were ably supported by Messrs Pringle 
and Elliot, and one or two more of those who had 
engaged with them. When they came to vote, 
however, two of the eighteen lost heart, and could 
not vote in opposition to all the great men in the 
Assembly. Those two were Messrs John Jardine and 
Hew Blair, who soon repented of their cowardice, 
and joined heartily in the dissent from a sentence 
of the Commission in March 1752, which brought on 
the deposition of Gillespie, and re-established the 
authority of the Church. Adam Dickson of Dunse, 
who had been ill treated by John Home's friends in 
that Presbytery when he was presentee to that parish, 
was the first who voted on our side. Home made a 
spirited oration, though not a business speech, which 
talent he never attained. Eobertson followed him, 
and not only gained the attention of the Assembly, 


but drew the praise of the best judges, particularly of 
the Lord President Dundas, who I overheard say that 
Robertson was an admirable speaker, and would soon 
become a leader in the church courts. 

Although the associated members lost the question 
by a very great majority, yet the speeches made on 
that occasion had thoroughly convinced many of the 
senior members, who, though they persisted in their 
purpose of screening Adams, yet laid to heart what 
they heard, and were prepared to follow a very dif- 
ferent course with the next offender. Adams' own 
speech, and those of his apologists, had an equal effect 
with those on the other side in bringing about this 
revolution on the minds of sensible men, for the plea 
of conscience was their only ground, which the more 
it was urged appeared the more absurd when applied 
to the conduct of subordinate judicatories in an 
Established Church. 

This occasional union of some of the young clergy- 
men with the young lawyers and other elders of rank 
had another happy effect, for it made them well ac- 
quainted with each other. Besides casual meetings, 
they had two nights set apart during every Assembly, 
when Messrs Ross, Elliot, and Pringle, with additional 
young elders as they came up, supped together, and 
conferred about the business with their friends of the 
Assembly 1752, and whoever they thought were fit 
associates. Thus was anticipated what took place on 
a larger scale, a few years afterwards, by the institu- 
tion of the Select Society. Till this period the clergy 


of Scotland, from the Revolution downwards, had in 
general been little thought of, and seldom admitted 
into liberal society, one cause of which was, that in 
those days a clergyman was thought profane who 
affected the manners of gentlemen, or was much seen 
in their company. The sudden call for young men 
to fill up vacancies at the Revolution, obliged the 
Church to take their entrants from the lower ranks, 
who had but a mean education. It must be observed, 
too, that when Presbytery was re-established in Scot- 
land at the Revolution, after the reign of Episcopacy 
for twenty-nine years, more than two -thirds of the 
people of the country, and most part of the gentry, 
were Episcopals ; the restoration of Presbytery by King 
William being chiefly owing to the Duke of Argj'le, 
Marchmont, Stair, and other leading nobles who had 
suffered under Charles and James, and who had pro- 
moted the Revolution with all their interest and power. 
As it was about this period that the General 
Assembly became a theatre for young lawyers to 
display their eloquence and exercise their talents, I 
shall mention the impression which some of them 
made on me in my early days. The Lord President 
Arniston — the father of a second President of the same 
name, Robert Dundas, and of Lord Viscount Melville, 
by different wives — had been King's Advocate in the 
year 1720, which he had lost in 1725, by his opposi- 
tion to Sir Robert Walpole and Lord Islay. He was 
one of the ablest lawyers this country ever produced, 
and a man of a high independent spirit. His appear- 


ance was against liim, for he was ill-looking, with a 
large nose and small ferret eyes, round shoulders, a 
harsh croaking voice, and altogether unprepossessing; 
yet by the time he had uttered three sentences, he 
raised attention, and went on with a torrent of good 
sense and clear reasoning that made one totally forget 
the first impression. At this Assembly he did not 
speak, and soon after fell into a debility of mind and 
body, which continued to 1754, when he died. I 
never happened to be in company with this Lord 
President but once, which was at a meeting of Pres- 
bytery for dividing the church of Newbottle. The 
Presbytery and the heritors who attended were quite 
puzzled how to proceed in the business, and Arniston, 
who was an heritor, was late in coming. But he had 
no sooner appeared than he undid all that we had been 
trying to do, and having put the meeting on a right 
plan, extricated and settled the business in a short time. 
To the superiority of his mind he added experience in 
that sort of business. There was a dinner provided 
for us in the Marquis [of Lothian's] house, where 
Sandy M'Millan, W.S., presided in the absence of the 
Marquis, when I was quite delighted with the Presi- 
dent's brilliant parts and fine convivial spirit. I was 
earnestly invited to go to him at Arniston, where I 
should probably have been very often, had not this 
happened a very short while, not above a month or 
two, before he fell into debility of mind, and was shut 
up. Hew Dalrymple, Lord Drummore, who was much 
inferior to him in talents, was a very popular speaker, 


thoiio^li neither an orator nor an acute reasoner. He 
was the lay leader of the Moderate party ; and A^nis- 
ton was inclined to favour the other side, though he 
could not follow them in their settled opposition to 
the law of patronage. Drummore devoted himself 
during the Assembly to the company of the clergy, 
and had always two or three elders who followed him 
to the tavern, such as Sir James Colquhoun, Colin 
Campbell Commissioner of Customs, &c. Drummore's 
speaking was not distinguished for anything but ease 
and popularity, and he was so deservedly a favourite 
with the clergy, that, taking up the common-sense of 
the business, or judging from what he heard in con- 
versation the day before, when dining with the clergy 
of his own side, he usually made a speech in every 
cause, which generally seemed to sway the Assembly, 
though there was not much aroatment. He used to 
nod to Ai-niston with an air of triumph (for they 
were relations, and very good friends), as much as to 
say, '■ Take you that, Kobin." 

I heard Lord Islay once speak in the Assembly, 
which was to correct the petulance of Alexander 
Webster, which he did with dignity and force, but 
was in the wrong to commit himself with a light 
horseman who had nothing to lose, I heard Lord 
Marchmont likewise speak on the motion for an aug- 
mentation, which he did with much elegance and a 
flowery elocution, but entirely without sense or pro- 
priety, insomuch that he by his speech forfeited the 
good opinion of the clergy, who had been prepossessed 


in his favour by Pope's panegyrical line " Polwartli is 
a sl^ve," Pope, according to his manner, intended 
this as a panegyric on his patriotism and independ- 
ence ; but this was the voice of party, for Marchmont 
was in reality as much a slave of the Court as any 
man of his time. 

Mr Gilbert Elliot showed himself in the Assembly 
equal to the station to which he afterwards attained 
as a statesman, when Sir Gilbert, by his superior 
manner of speaking. But Andrew Pringle, Solicitor- 
General, and afterwards Lord Aylmer, excelled all the 
laymen of that period for genuine argument and elo- 
quence ; and when on the bench, he delivered his 
opinion with more dignity, clearness, and precision 
than any judge I ever heard either in Scotland or 
England. It was a great loss to this country that he 
did not live to fill the President's chair, and indeed 
had not health to go through the labour of it, other- 
wise it was believed that he would have set an ex- 
ample of elegance and dignity in our law proceedings 
that could not easily have been forgotten. In those 
respects the bench has been very unlucky, for however 
great lawyers or impartial judges the succeeding 
Presidents may have been, in the qualities I have 
mentioned they have all been inferior even to the 
first President Arniston, who could not be called an 
elegant speaker, with all his other great qualities. In 
those days there were very few good speakers among 
the clergy, as no young men almost ever ventured to 
speak but when at the bar till after 1 752. The custom 


invariably was for the Moderator to call for the opin- 
ion of two or three of the old men at the green table 
who were nearest him, and after them one or two of the 
judges, or the King's Advocate and Solicitor, who were 
generally all of a side, and were very seldom opposed 
or answered but by James Lindsay and one or two of 
his followers. With respect to Lindsay, I have to add 
that he was a fine brisk gentlemanlike man, who had 
a good manner of speaking, but, being ver}' unlearned, 
could only pursue a single track. He set out on the 
popidar side in opposition to patronage, but many of 
his private friends being on the other side, and Church 
preferment running chiefly in that direction, he came 
for two or three years over to them ; but on Drysdale's 
getting the deanery during the Marquis of Eocking- 
ham's administration, he took pet and returned to his 
old party. The ground of his patriotism was thus 
unveiled, and he was no longer of any consequence, 
though he thought he could sway the burgh of Loch- 
maben, where he was minister at that time. He was 
a very pleasant companion, but jealous and difficult, 
and too severe a rallier. 

The clergyman of this period who far outshone 
the rest in eloquence was Principal Tidlidelph of St 
Andrews. He had fallen into bad health or low spirits 
before my time, and seldom appeared in the Assembly ; 
but when he did, he far excelled every other speaker. 
I am not certain if even Lord Chatham in his glory 
had more dignity of manner or more command of his 
audience than he had. I am certain he had not so 


much argument, nor such a convincing force of rea- 
soning. Tullidelph was tall and thin like Pitt, with 
a manly and interesting aspect ; and rising slowly, and 
beginniug in a very low tone, lie soon swelled into an 
irresistible torrent of eloquence, and, in my opinion, 
was the most powerful speaker ever I heard. And 
yet this great man was overcome and humbled by the 
buffoonery of a man much his inferior in everything 
but learning. This was John Chalmers, minister of 
Elie.* Tullidelph soon gained the leading of his uni- 
versity, the Presbytery of St Andrews, and the Synod 
of Fife ; but being of a haughty and overbearing 
disposition (like Chatham), he soon disgusted his 
colleagues both in the University and Presbytery, of 
which the younger brethren made a cabal against him, 
in which Chalmers was the principal agent. Though 
he was far behind Tullidelph in eloquence, he was 
superior to him in some things, especially in ancient 
learning. But his chief mode of attack was by a 
species of buffoonery, which totally unhinged the Prin- 
cipal, who was very proud, and indignant of opposi- 
tion. Chalmers watched his arguments, and by turning 
them all into ridicule, and showing that they proved 
the very reverse of Avhat he intended, he put Tullidelph 
in such a rage as totally disabled him, and made him 
in a short time absent himself both from Presbytery 
and Synod. He at last became hypochondriac, sat up 
all night writing a dull commentary on the Gospels, 
and lay in bed all day. 

* The grand-iincle of Dr Thomas Chiihners. See Hanxa's Memmrs, i. 2. 


After this period, however, when the young clergy 
distinguished themselves — and particularly after the 
Assembly 1 753, when, Alexander "Webster being Mo- 
derator, he on the very first question dropped the old 
mode of calling upon the senior members — the young 
clergy began to feel their own importance in debate, 
and have ever since continued to distinguish them- 
selves, and have swayed the decision of the Assembly ; 
so that the supreme ecclesiastical court has long been a 
school of eloquence for the clergy, as well as a theatre 
for the lawyers to display their talents. 

It was in the Assembly 1752 that the authority of 
the Church was restored by the deposition of Gillespie. 
Robertson and John Home, having been dissenters, 
with some others, from a sentence of the Commission 
in March that year in the affair of the settlement of 
Inverkeithing, similar to that of Torphichen in 1751, 
had entered a complaint against the Commission, which 
gave them an opportunity of appearing and pleading 
at the bar of the Assembly, which they did with spirit 
and eloquence. The minds of the leaders of the As- 
sembly having been now totally changed, a vigorous 
measure was adopted by a great majority. The Presby- 
tery of Dunfermline were brought before the Assembly, 
and peremptorily ordered to admit the candidate three 
days after, and report to the Assembly on the follow- 
ing Friday. They disobeyed, and Mr Gillespie was 
deposed. I was for the first time a member, with my 
friend and co-presbyter George Logan. It was thought 
proper that, on the first day's debate, the speaking 


should be left to the senior clergy and the lay mem- 
bers. But when, at a general meeting of the party 
after Gillespie was deposed, it was moved that it 
would be proper to propose next day that the As- 
sembly should proceed to depose one or two more of 
the offending brethren, Mr Alexander Gordon of Kin- 
tore, and George Logan and I, were pointed out as 
proper persons to make and second the motion. I 
accordingly began, and was seconded by Gordon in 
very vigorous speeches, which occasioned a great alarm 
on the other side, as if we were determined to get rid 
of the whole Presbytery; but this was only in terrorem, 
for by concert one of our senior brethren, wdth much 
commendation of the two young men, calmly pro- 
posed that the Assembly for this time should rest 
contented with what they had done, aud wait the 
effects of the example that had been set. After some 
debate this was carried. Logan not having done his 
part, I asked him why he had been silent ; he an- 
swered that Gordon and I had spoken in such a supe- 
rior manner that he thought he would appear inferior, 
and had not the courage to rise. As it was the first 
time I had ever opened my mouth in the Assembly- — 
for I was not a member till that year — I was encou- 
raged to go on by that reply from my friend. At 
the same time, I must observe that many a time, as 
in this case, the better man is dazzled and silenced 
for life, perhaps, by the more forward temper and 
brilliant appearances of his companions. My admira- 
tion of Robertson and Hume, with whom I was daily 


versant at that time, and who communicated their 
writings to me, made me imagine that I was incapable 
of writing anything but sermons, insomuch that till 
the year 1751 I wrote nothing else except some juve- 
nile poems. Dr Patrick Cuming was at this time at 
the head of t^e Moderate interest ; and had his temper 
been equal to his talents, might have kept it long ; 
for he had both learning and sagacity, and very 
agreeable conversation, with a constitution able to 
bear the convivialitv of the times. 



irSS-lT.W: AGE, 31 -34. 







THE carriers' INN. 

It was this year [1753] that the 1st Regiment of dra- 
goons lay at Musselburgh, with some of the officers of 
which I was very intimate, particularly w^ith Charles 
Lyon, the surgeon, who w^as a very sensible, handsome, 
and agreeable young man. He afterwards became an 
officer, and rose to the rank of a lieutenant-general. 
He w^as at York when Captain Burton and AVind 
fought a duel, in which the first w'as run through 
the lungs, and recovered. Lyon wrote to me twice 
a-week, as I had a great regard for Burton, and had 
foretold the duel. He was afterwards well known by 
the name of General Philipson. The celebrated Major 
Johnstone, so much admired for his beauty and for 
his many duels, w^as of this regiment, and one of the 
best-natured men in the intercourse of friends that 


ever I met with. George 11. liad put a cross at his 
name on his behaving very insolently at one of the 
theatres to a country gentleman, and afterwards 
woundino- him in a duel. In Georo;e III.'s time John 
Home got the star taken off, and he was promoted. 
He was of the family of Hilton, which is descended 
from that of Westerhall ; and Hew Bannatine had 
been his travelling tutor when abroad. 

The parish of Inveresk this year lost a very agree- 
able member ; for the estate of Carberry being sold to 
a Mr Fullerton, who came to live at it, Lord Elchies 
left the place and went to Inch, where he died soon 
after. His place was in some respects filled by his 
son, Mr John Grant, afterwards Baron Grant, who 
bought Castle Steads. Mr Grant was a worthy good 
man, of considerable parts, but of a weak, whimsical 
mind. He was at this time chief commissioner for the 
Duke of Buccleuch, and much improved the family 
gallery in the church, where he attended regularly. 
He married ^Nliss Fletcher, the eldest daughter of Lord 
Milton, who received the marriage company at Car- 
berry. I was frequently asked to dine while she stayed 
there, and by that means became weU acquainted with 
the Fletchers, whom I had not visited before, for their 
house was not in my parish, and I was not forward 
in pushing myself into acquaintance elsewhere with- 
out some proper introduction. From this period I 
became intimate with that family, of which Lord 
]\Iilton himself and his youngest daughter Betty, after- 
wards Mrs AVedderburn of Gosford, were my much- 


valued friends. Lord Milton was nephew of the famous 
patriot, Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, and the successor 
to his estate. He had been Lord Justice-Clerk and 
political manager of this country under Lord Islay ; 
and now that his lordship had been Duke of Argyle 
since 1744, when his brother John died, their influ- 
ence was completely established. The Duke had early 
made choice of Fletcher for his coadjutor, and had 
proved his sagacity by making so good a choice ; for 
Lord Milton was a man of great ability in business, 
a man of good sense, and of excellent talents for man- 
aging men ; and though his conversation was on a 
limited scale, because his knowledge was very much 
so, yet being possessed of indefeasible power at that 
time in Scotland, and keeping an excellent table, his 
defects were overlooked, and he was held to be as 
agreeable as he was able. 

His talents had been illustrated by the incapacity 
of the Tweeddale Ministry, who were in power during 
the Eebellion, and who had been obliged to resort to 
Milton for intelligence and advice. When the Rebel- 
lion was suppressed, and the Duke of Argyle brought 
again into power, he and Fletcher very wisely gained 
the hearts of the Jacobites, who were still very 
numerous, by adopting the most lenient measures, 
and taking the distressed families under their pro- 
tection, while the Squadrone party continued as vio- 
lent against them as ever. This made them almost 
universally successful in the parliamentary election 
which followed the Rebellion, and established their 


power till the death of the Duke, which happened in 

His [Lord Milton's] youngest daughter, afterwards 
Mrs Wedderburn, was one of the first females in point 
of understanding as well as. heart that ever fell in my 
way to be intimately acquainted with. As there was 
much w^eakness and intrigue in the mother and some 
other branches of the family, she had a difficult part 
to act, but she performed it with much address ; for 
while she preserved her father's predilection and con- 
fidence, she remained well with the rest of the family. 
The eldest brother, Andrew, lived for most part with 
the Duke of Ai-gyle, at London, as his private secre- 
tary, and was M.P. for East Lothian ; and though not 
a man who produced himself in public life, was suffi- 
ciently knowing and accomplished to be a very amiable 
member of society. After the death of the Duke of 
Argyle in 1761, and of his father in 1767, he lived 
for most part at his seat at Saltoun, in East Lothian. 
He was succeeded as member of Parliament for that 
county by Sir George Suttie, who had been a lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the army, and who, with many 
others, left the service in disgust with the Duke of 
Cumberland, who, though he had always been beat in 
Flanders, had disobliged sundry officers of good pro- 
mise. This Sir George, however, was much overrated. 
He was held to be a great officer, because he had a 
way of thinking of his own, and had learned from his 
kinsman, Marshal Stair, to draw the plan of a cam- 
paign. He was held to be a great patriot, because he 


wore a coarse coat and unpowdered hair, wliile lie 
was looking for a post witli the utmost anxiety. He 
was reckoned a man of much sense because he said 
so himself, and had such an embarrassed stuttering 
elocution that one was not sure but it was true. 
He was understood to be a great improver of land, 
because he was always talking of farming, and had 
invented a cheap method of fencing his fields by com- 
bining a low stone wall and a hedge together, which, 
on experiment, did not answer. For all those qualities 
he got credit for some time ; but nobody ever men- 
tioned the real strength of his character, which was 
that of an uncommonly kind and indulgent brother to 
a large family of brothers and sisters, whom he allowed, 
during his absence in a five years' war, to dilapidate his 
estate, and leave him less than half his income. Lord 
Stair had been caught by the boldness of his cousin in 
attempting to make the plan of a campaign, which had 
given the young man a false measure of his own ability. 
For two summers, about this time, I went for some 
weeks to Dunse Well, which was in high vogue at 
this period, when I was often at Polwarth Manse, the 
dwelling of Mr and Mrs Home, the last of wdiom was 
aunt of Mary Roddam, the young lady whom I after- 
wards married, and who had lived there since the 
death of her father and mother in the years 1744 and 
1745. John Home passed half his time in this house, 
Mr William Home, a brother of the Laird of Bassen- 
dean, being his cousin, and Mrs Home (Mary Roddam) 
a superior woman. By frequenting this house I was 


introduced to the Earl of Marchmont, whose seat was 
hard by. His second lady, who was young and 
handsome, but a simple and quiet woman, and three 
daughters he had by his former lady, were all under 
due subjection, for his lordship kept a high command 
at home. The daughters were all clever, particularly 
Lady Margaret, and stood less in awe than the 
Countess, who, had it not been for her only child, 
Lord Polwarth, then an infant, would have led but 
an uncomfortable life. The family of Marchmont — 
which rose to tlie peerage at the Revolution, and to 
the ascendant in the country, through the weakness 
and Jacobitism of the more ancient Earls of Home, 
from whom they were descended — to preserve their 
superiority, paid great court to the county, and par- 
ticularly to the clergy, because they were the only 
stanch friends to , Government. ^larchmont was 
lively and eloquent in conversation, with a tincture 
of classical learning, and some knowledge of the con- 
stitution, especially of the forms of the House of 
Peers ; but his wit appeared to me to be petulant, 
and his understanding shallow. His twin-brother, 
Hume Campbell, then Lord-Register for Scotland, 
and one of the most eloquent lawyers in the House 
of Commons, seemed to me to be a man of sounder 
judgment than his brother ; his want of manhood, 
however, had been disclosed by his receiving an insult 
from William Pitt, the father, which he had probably 
been tempted to inflict on his having heard what had 
happened to him in Edinburgh in his youthful days. 


In one of the summers in which I was in that part 
of the country, the Lord-Eegister gave a ball and 
supper in the town-hall of Greenlaw, which I men- 
tion because I had there an opportunity of conversing 
with Lady Murray and her friend Lady Hervey, who 
was understood to be one of the most accomplished 
and witty ladies in England. There were in this neigh- 
bourhood several very agreeable clergymen : Chatto 
was very acute and sensible — Eidpath judicious and 
learned — Dickson an able ecclesiastic, and master of 

In one of those years it was, when Dunse Well 
was most frequented, that the Marchmont family for 
several weeks attended, and came to Dunse, and 
breakfasted at a small tavern by the bowling-green. 
We generally sat down twenty-four or twenty-five to 
breakfast in a very small room. Marchmont and his 
brother behaved with great courtesy, seldom sitting 
down, but aiding the servants. Francis Garden was 
there, and increased the mirth of the company. Most 
of the company remained all the forenoon at the 
bowling-green, where we had very agreeable parties. 

It was also in one of those years that Smollett 
visited Scotland for the first time, after having left 
Glasgow immediately after his education was finished, 
and his engaging as a surgeon's mate on board a man- 
of-war, which gave him an opportunity of witnessing 
the siege of Carthagena, which he has so minutely 
described in his Roderich Random. He came out to 
Musselburgh and passed a day and a night with me. 


and went to church and heard me preach. I in- 
troduced liini to Cardonnel the Commissioner, with 
whom he supped, and they were much pleased with 
each other. Smollett has reversed this in his Hum- 
phrey Clinker, where he makes the Commissioner his 
old acquaintance." He went next to Glasgow and 
that neighbourhood to visit his friends, and returned 
again to Edinburgh in October, when I had frequent 
meetings with him — one .in particular, in a tavern, 
where there supped with him Commissioner Cardon- 
nel, Mr Hepburn of Keith, John Home, and one or 
two more. Hepburn was so much pleased with Car- 
donnel, that he said that if he went into rebellion 
again, it should be for the grandson of the Duke of 
Monmouth. Cardonnel and I went with Smollett to 
Sir David Kinloch's, and passed the day, when John 
Home and Logan and I conducted him to Dunbar, 
where we stayed together all night. 

Smollett was a man of veiy agreeable conversation 
and of much genuine humour ; and, though not a 
profound scholar, possessed a philosophical mind, and 
was capable of making the soundest observations on 
human life, and of discerning the excellence or seeing 
the ridicule of every character he met with. Fielding 
only excelled him in giving a dramatic story to his 
novels, but, in my opinion, was inferior to him in the 
true comic vein. He was one of the many very 

* But on naming the far more Jistingiiished men seen by him in the 
"hotljeacl of genius," Bramble says, "These acquaintances I owe to the 
friendship of Dr Carlyle, who wants nothing but inclination to figure with 
the rest on paper." — Ed. 


pleasant men with whom it was my good fortune to 
be intimately acquainted. Mr Cardonnel, whom I 
have mentioned, was another who excelled, like Smol- 
lett, in a great variety of pleasant stories. Sir Hew 
Dalrymple, North Berwick, had as much conversation 
and wit as any man of his time, having been long an 
M.P, David Hume and Dr John Jardine were like- 
wise both admirable, and had the peculiar talent of 
rallying their companions on their good qualities. 
Dr William Wight and Thomas Hepburn were also 
remarkable — the one for brilliancy, vivacity, and 
smartness ; the other for the shrewdness of his re- 
marks and irresistible repartees. The Right Honour- 
able Charles Townshend and Patrick Lord Elibank 
were likewise admirable ; for though the first was 
inferior in knowledge to the second, yet he had such 
flowing eloquence, so fine a voice, and such richness 
of expression, joined to brilliant wit and a fine vein of 
mimicry, as made him shine in every company. Eli- 
bank w^as more enlightened and more profound, and 
had a mind that embraced the greatest variety of 
topics, and produced the most original remarks. He 
was rather a humourist than a man of humour ; but 
that bias of his temper led him to defend paradoxes 
and uncommon opinions with a copiousness and in- 
genuity that was surprising. He had been a lieu- 
tenant-colonel in the army, and was at the siege of 
Carthagena, of which he left an elegant and Xenophon- 
like account (which I'm afraid is lost). He was a 
Jacobite, and a member of the famous Cocoa-tree Club, 


and resigned his commission on some disgust. Soon 
after the Rebellion of 1745 he took up his residence 
in Scotland, and his seat being between Dr Robert- 
son's church and John Home's, he became intimately 
acquainted with them, who cured him of his con- 
tempt for the Presbyterian clergy, made him change 
or soften down many of his original opinions, and pre- 
pared him for becoming a most agreeable member of 
the Literary Society of Edinburgh, among whom he 
lived during the remainder of his life admiring and 
admired. We used to say of Elibank, that were we 
to plead for our lives, he was the man with whom we 
would wish to converse for at least one whole day 
before we made our defence. 

Dr M'Cormick, who died Principal of St Andrews, 
was rather a merry-andrew than a wit ; but he left as 
many good sapngs behind him, which are remem- 
bered, as any man of his time. Andrew Gray, minis- 
ter of Abernethy, was a man of wit and humour, 
which had the greater effect that his person was 
diminutive, and his voice of the smallest treble. 

Lindsay was a hussar in raillery, who had no mercy, 
and whose object was to display himself and to humble 
the man he played on. Monteath was more than his 
match, for he lay by, and took his opportunity of giv- 
incr him such southboards as silenced him for the whole 
evening.* Happily for conversation, this horse-play 
raillery has been left off for more than thirty years 

* Liudsay was miniiter of the parish of Kirkliston, and Monteath of the 
parish of Longfonnaciis. — Ed. 


among the clergy and other liberals. Drummore — of 
the class of lawyers who got the epithet of Monk from 
Quin, at Bath, on account of his pleasing countenance 
and bland manners — was a first-rate at the science of 
defence in raillery : he was too good-natured to attack. 
He had the knack, not only of pleasing fools with 
themselves, but of making them tolerable to the com- 
pany. There were two men, however, whose coming 
into a convivial company pleased more than anybody 
I ever knew : the one was Dr George Kay, a minister 
of Edinburgh, who, to a charming vivacity when he 
was in good spirits, added the talent of ballad-singing 
better than anybody ever I knew ; the other was 
John Home. 

I should not omit Lord CuUen here, though he was 
much my junior, who in his youth possessed the 
talent of mimicry beyond all mankind ; for his was 
not merely an exact imitation of voice and manner 
of speaking, but a perfect exhibition of every man's 
manner of thinking on every subject. I shall men- 
tion two or three instances, lest his wonderful powers 
should fall into oblivion. 

When the Honourable James Stuart Wortley lived 
with Dr Robertson, the Doctor had sometimes, though 
rarely, to remonstrate and admonish the young gen- 
tleman on some parts of his conduct. He came into 
the room between ten and eleven in the morning, 
when Mr Stuart was still in bed, with the windows 
shut and the curtains drawn close, when he took the 
opportunity, in his mild and rational manner (for he 


could not chide), to give him a lecture on the manner 
of life he was leading. When he was done, " This is 
rather too much, my dear Doctor,' said James ; " for 
you told me all this not above an hour ago." The 
case was, that Cullen had been beforehand with the 
Doctor, and seizing the opportunity, read his friend 
such a lecture as he thought the Doctor might pro- 
bably do that morning. It was so very like in thought 
and in words, that Stuart took it for a visitation 
from the Doctor. 

I was witness to another exhibition similar to this. 
It was one day in the General Assembly 1 765, when 
there happened to be a student of physic who was 
seized with a convulsion fit, which occasioned much 
commotion in the house, and drew a score of other 
English students around him. When the Assembly 
adjourned, about a dozen of us went to dine in the 
Poker club-room at Nicholson's, when Dr Eobertson 
came and told us he must dine with the Commis- 
sioner, but would join us soon. Immediately after 
we dined, somebody wished to hear from Cullen what 
Robertson would say about the incident that had 
taken place, which he did immediately, lest the Prin- 
cipal should come in. He had hardly finished when 
he arrived. After the company had drank his health, 
Jardine said slyly, "Principal, was it not a strange 
accident that happened to-day in the Assembly?" 
Eobertson's answer was exactly in the strain, and 
almost in the very words, of CuUen. This raised a 
very loud laugh in the company, when the Doctor, 


more ruffled than I ever almost saw him, said, with a 
severe look at Cullen, " I perceive somebody has been 
ploughiug with my heifer before I came in." 

On another occasion he was asked to exhibit, when 
he answered that his subjects were so much hackneyed 
that he could not go over them with spirit ; but if 
any of them would mention a new subject, he would 
try to please them. One of the company mentioned 
the wild beast in the Gevaudan, w^hen, after laying 
his head on the table, not for more than two or three 
minutes, he lifted himself up and said, "Now I have 
it," and immediately gave us the thoughts of tlie 
Judges Auchinleck, Kames, and Monboddo, and Dr 
Robertson, with a characteristical exactness of senti- 
ment, as well as words, tone, and manner, as aston- 
ished the company. This happened at Dr Blair's, who 
then lived in James's Square.'" 

This was a very pleasing but dangerous talent, for 
it led to dissipation. When he had left off his usual 
mode of exhibition when called upon, yet he could 
not restrain himself from displaying in his common 
conversation, in which he intermingled specimens of 
his superlative art as the characters came in his way, 
whicli to me w^as much more agreeable than the pro- 
fessed exhibition. As he was more knowing and 
accomplished than almost any judge in his time, 
had all other qualities been of a piece, his company 

* The sanguinary feats attributed to ' ' tlie great beast of the Gevaudan " 
excited all Europe in 1704, and there was much astonishment when, lieing 
at last killed, it was found to be only a large wolf. Horace W^aljwle saw 
it j carcass in the Queen's antechamber at Versailles, — Ed. 


would very long have been courted. In giving some 
account of those very pleasant characters which it 
was my good fortune to know, I have anticipated 
several years ; for Mr Eobert Cullen, for instance, did 
not begin to be known till after 1760. But I shall 
now return to my narrative. 

It was in the General Assembly 1753, as I have 
before mentioned, that Dr Webster being ^Moderator, 
he put an end to the ancient mode of calling up Prin- 
cipals, and Professors, and Judges, &c., to give their 
opinion on cases which came before the Assembly, by 
declaring that he would call upon no person, but 
would expect that every member should freely deliver 
his opinion when he had any to offer. This brought 
on the junior members, and much animated and im- 
proved the debates. The old gentlemen at first were 
sulky and held their tongues, but in two or three 
days they found them again, lest they should lose 
their ascendant. I never afterwards saw the practice 
revived of calling upon members to speak, except 
once or twice when Principal TuUidelph attended, 
whom everybody wished to hear, but who would not 
rise without having that piece of respect paid to him. 

At this Assembly it was that an attempt was 
made to have Gillespie, the deposed minister, restored ; 
but as he had not taken the proper steps to conciliate 
the Church, but, on the contrary, had continued to 
preach, and had set up a separate congregation, the 
application by his friends was refused by a great 
majority, and was never repeated. 


At this time David Hume was living in Edinburgh 
and composing his History of Great Britain. He 
was a man of great knowledge,, and of a social and 
benevolent temper, and truly the best-natured man 
in the world. He was branded with the title of 
Atheist, on account of the many attacks on revealed 
religion that are to be found in his philosophical 
works, and in many places of his History— the last of 
which are still more objectionable than the first, which 
a friendly critic might call only sceptical. Apropos 
of this, when Mr Eobert Adam, the celebrated archi- 
tect, and his brother, lived in Edinburgh with their 
mother, an aunt of Dr Eobertson's, and a very re- 
spectable woman, she said to her son, " I shall be glad 
to see any of your companions to dinner, but I hope 
you will never bring the Atheist here to disturb my 
peace." But Eobert soon fell on a method to recon- 
cile her to him, for he introduced him under another 
name, or concealed it carefully from her. When the 
company parted she said to her son, " I must confess 
that you bring very agreeable companions about you, 
but the large jolly man who sat next me is the most 
agreeable of them all." " This was the very Atheist," 
said he, "mother, that you was so much afraid of." 
" Well," says she, " you may bring him here as much 
as you please, for he's the most innocent, agreeable, 
facetious man I ever met with." This was truly the 
case with him; for though he had much learning and 
a fine taste, and was professedly a sceptic, though by 
no means an atheist, he had the greatest simplicity 


of mind and manners with the utmost facility and 
benevolence of temper of any man I ever knew. His 
conversation was truly irresistible, for while it was 
enlightened, it was naive almost to puerility. 

I was one of those who never believed that David 
Hume's sceptical principles had laid fast hold on his 
mind, but thought that his books proceeded rather 
from affectation of superiority and pride of under- 
standing and love of vainglory. I was confirmed in 
this opinion, after his death, by what the Honourable 
Patrick Boyle, one of his most intimate friends, told 
me many years ago at my house in Musselburgh, 
where he used to come and dine the first Sunday of 
every General Assembly, after his brother. Lord Glas- 
gow, ceased to be Lord High Commissioner. When 
we were talking of David, Mrs Carlyle asked Mr Boyle 
if he thought David Hume was as great an unbeliever 
as the world took him to be ? He answered, that the 
world judged from his books, as they had a right to 
do ; but he thought otherwise, who had known him 
all his life, and mentioned the following incident : 
AYhen David and he were both in London, at the 
period when David's mother died, Mr Boyle, hearing 
of it, soon after went into his apartment — for they 
lodged in the same house — when he found him in the 
deepest affliction and in a flood of tears. After the 
usual topics of condolence, Mr Boyle said to him, 
" My friend, you owe this uncommon grief to your 
having thrown off the principles of religion ; for if 
you had not, you would have been consoled by the 



firm belief that tlie good lady, who was not only the 
best of mothers, but the most pious of Christians, was 
now completely happy in the realms of the just." To 
which David replied, " Though I threw out my specu- 
lations to entertain and employ the learned and meta- 
physical world, yet in other things I do not think so 
differently from the rest of mankind as you may 
imagine." To this my wife was a witness. This con- 
versation took place the year after David died, when 
Dr Hill, who was to preach, had gone to a room to 
look over his notes. 

At this period, when he first lived in Edinburgh, 
and was writing his History of England, his circum- 
stances were narrow, and he accepted the office of 
Librarian to the Faculty of Advocates, worth £40 
per annum. But it was not for the salary that he 
accepted this employment, but that he might have 
easy access to the books in that celebrated library ; 
for, to my certain knowledge, he gave every farthing 
of the salary to families in distress. Of a piece with 
this temper was his curiosity and credulity, which 
were without bounds, a specimen of which shall be 
afterwards given when I come down to Militia and 
the Poker. His economy was strict, as he loved inde- 
pendency ; and yet he was able at that time to give 
suppers to his friends in his small lodging in the 
Canongate. He took much to the company of the 
younger clergy, not from a wish to bring them over 
to his opinions, for he never attempted to overturn 
any man's principles, but they best understood his 


notions, and could furnish him with literary conver- 
sation. Kobertson and John Home and Bannatine 
and I lived all in the country, and came only period- 
ically to the town. Blair and Jardine both lived in 
it, and suppers being the only fashionable meal at 
that time, we dined where we best could, and by 
cadies assembled our friends to meet us in a tavern 
by nine o'clock ; and a fine time it was when we could 
collect David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, 
Lord Elibank, and Drs Blair and Jardine, on an hour's 
warning. I remember one night that David Hume, 
who, having dined abroad, came rather late to us, and 
du-ectly pulled a large key from his pocket, which he 
laid on the table. This he said was given him by 
his maid Peggy (much more like a man than a woman) 
that she might not sit up for him, for she said when 
the honest fellaws came in from the country, he never 
returned home till after one o'clock. This intimacy 
of the young clergy with David Hume enraged the 
zealots on the opposite side, who little knew how im- 
possible it was for him, had he been willing, to shake 
their principles. 

As Mr Hume's circumstances improved he enlarged 
his mode of living, and instead of the roasted hen and 
minced collops, and a bottle of punch, he gave both 
elegant dinners and suppers, and the best claret, and, 
which was best of all, he furnished the entertainment 
with the most instructive and pleasing conversation, 
for he assembled whosoever were most knowing and 
agreeable among either the laity or clergy. This he 


always did, but still more unsparingly when he be- 
came what he called rich. For innocent mirth and 
agreeable raillery I never knew his match. Jardine, 
who sometimes bore hard upon him — for he had much 
drollery and wit, though but little learning — never 
could overturn his temper. Lord Elibank resembled 
David in his talent for collecting agreeable com- 
panions together, and had a house in town for several 
winters chiefly for that purpose. 

David, who delighted in what the French call 
'plaisanterie, with the aid of Miss Nancy Ord, one of 
the Chief Baron's daughters, contrived and executed 
one that gave him very great delight. As the New 
Town was making its progress westward, he built a 
house in the south-west corner of St Andrew Square. 
The street leading south to Princes Street had not 
yet got its name affixed, but they got a workman 
early one morning to paint on the corner-stone of 
David's house " St David's Street," where it remains 
to this day. 

He was at first quite delighted with Ossian's poems, 
and gloried in them ; but on going to London he went 
over to the other side, and loudly affirmed them to 
be inventions of Macpherson. I happened to say one 
day, when he was declaiming against Macpherson, 
that I had met with nobody of his opinion but Wil- 
liam Caddel of Cockenzie, and President Dundas, 
which he took ill, and was some time of forgetting. 
This is one instance of what Smellie says of him, that 
though of the best temper in the world, yet he could 


be touched by opposition or rudeness. This was the 
only time I had ever observed David's temper change. 
I can call to mind an instance or two of his sood- 
natured pleasantry. Being at Gilmerton, where David 
Hume was on a visit. Sir David Kinloch made him go 
to Athlestaneford Church, where I preached for John 
Home. AVhen we met before dinner, " What did you 
mean," says he to me, " by treating John's congrega- 
tion to-day with one of Cicero's academics ? I did not 
think that such heathen morality would have passed 
in East Lothian." On Monday, when we were assem- 
bling to breakfast, David retired to the end of the 
dining-room, when Sir David entered : '* \\Tiat are you 
doing there, Davy 1 come to your breakfast." " Take 
away the enemy first," says David. The baronet, 
thinking it was the warm fire that kept David in the 
lower end of the room, rung the bell for a servant to 
carry some of it oflf. It was not the fire that scared 
David, but a large Bible that was left on a stand at 
the upper end of the room, a chapter of which had 
been read at the family prayers the night before, that 
good custom not being then out of use when clergy- 
men were in the house. Add to this John Home 
saying to him at the Poker Club, when everj-body 
wondered what could have made a clerk of Sir Wil- 
liam Forbes run away with £900 — "I know that 
very well," says John Home to David ; " for when 
he was taken, there was found in his pocket your 
Philosophical Works and Boston's Fourfold State 
of Man." 


David Hume, during all his life, had written the 
most pleasing and agreeable letters to his friends. I 
have preserved two of these. But I lately saw two 
of more early date in the hands of Mr Sandiland 
Dysart, Esq., AV.S., to his mother, who was a friend 
of David's, and a very accomplished woman, one of 
them dated in 1751, on occasion of his brother Hume 
of Ninewell's marriage ; and the other in 1754, with 
a present of the first volume of his History, both of 
which are written in a vein of pleasantry and playful- 
ness which nothing can exceed, and which makes me 
think that a collection of his letters would be a valu- 
able present to the world, and present throughout a 
very pleasing picture of his mind.* 

I have heard him say that Baron Montesquieu, when 
he asked him if he did not think that there would 
soon be a revolution in France favourable to liberty, 
answered, "No, for their noblesse had all become 
poltroons." He said that the club in Paris (Baron 
Holbach's) to which he belonged, were of opinion that 
Christianity would be abolished in Europe by the end 
of the eighteenth century ; and that they laughed at 
Andrew Stuart for making a battle in favour of a 
future state, and called him " L'ame Immortelle." 

David Hume, like Smith, had no discernment at all 
of characters. The only two clergymen whose inter- 
ests he espoused, and for one of whom he provided, 
were the two silliest fellows in the Church. With 

* They will be found, in The Life and Corre^ondence of David Hume, by 
the Editor. 


every opportunity, he was ridiculously shy of asking 
favours, on account of preserving his independence, 
which always appeared to me to be a very foolish kind 
of pride. . Hi s friend John Home, with not more be- 
nevolence, but with no scruples from a wish of inde- 
pendence, for which he was not born, availed himself 
of his influence and provided for hundreds, and yet 
he never asked anything for himself, 

Adam Smith, though perhaps only second to David 
in learning and ingenuity, was far inferior to him in 
conversational talents. In that of public speaking 
they were equal — David never tried it, and I never 
heard Adam but once, which was at the first meeting 
of the Select Society, when he opened up the design 
of the meeting. His voice was harsh and enimciation 
thick, approaching to stammering. His conversation 
was not colloquial, but like lecturing, in which I have 
been told he was not deficient, especially when he 
grew warm. He was the most absent man in com- 
pany that I ever saw, moving his lips, and talking to 
himself, and smiling, in the midst of large companies. 
If you awaked him from his reverie and made him 
attend to the subject of conversation, he immediately 
began a harangue, and never stopped tiU he told you 
all he knew about it, with the utmost philosophical 
ingenuity. He knew nothing of characters, and yet 
was ready to draw them on the slightest invitation. 
But when you checked him or doubted, he retracted 
with the utmost ease, and contradicted aU he had 
been saying. His journey abroad with the Duke of 


Buccleuch cured him in part of those foibles ; but still 
he appeared very unfit for the intercourse of the world 
as a travelling tutor. But the Duke was a character, 
both in point of heart and understanding, to surmount 
all disadvantages — he could learn nothing ill from a 
philosopher of the utmost probity and benevolence. 
If he [Smith] had been more a man of address and of 
the world, he might perhaps have given a ply to the 
Duke's fine mind, which was much better when left 
to its own energy. Charles Townshend had chosen 
Smith, not for his fitness for the purpose, but for his 
own glory in having sent an eminent Scottish philo- 
sopher to travel with the Duke. 

Smith had from the Duke a bond for a life annuity 
of £300, till an oflSce of equal value was obtained for 
him in Britain. When the Duke got him appointed 
a Commissioner of the Customs in Scotland, he went 
out to Dalkeith with the bond in his pocket, and, 
offering it to the Duke, told him that he thought him- 
self bound in honour to surrender the bond, as his 
Grace had now got him a place of £500. The Duke 
answered that Mr Smith seemed more careful of his 
own honour than of his, which he found wounded by 
the proposal. Thus acted that good Duke, who, being 
entirely void of vanity, did not value himself on 
splendid generosities. He had acted in much the 
same manner to Dr Hallam, w^ho had been his tutor 
at Eton ; for when Mr Townshend proposed giving 
Hallam an annuity of £100 when the Duke was taken 
from him, " No," says he, " it is my desire that Hallam 


may have as much as Smith, it being a great mortifi- 
cation to him that he is not to travel with me."' 

Though Smith had some little jealousy in his tem- 
per, he had the most unbounded benevolence. His 
smile of approbation was truly captivating. His 
affectionate temper was proved by his dutiful attend- 
ance on his mother. One instance I remember which 
marked his character. John Home and he, travelling 
down from London together [in 1776], met David 
Hume going to Bath for the recovery of his health. 
He anxiously wished them both to return with him : 
John agreed, but Smith excused himself on account 
of the state of his mother's health, whom he needs 
must see. Smith's fine writing is chiefly displayed in 
his book on Moral Sentiment, which is the pleasantest 
an.d most eloquent book on the subject. His Wealth 
of Nations, from which he was judged to be an in- 
ventive genius of the first order, is tedious and full of 
repetition. His separate essays in the second volume 
have the air of being occasional pamphlets, without 
much force or determination. On political subjects 
his opinions were not very sound. 

Dr Adam Ferguson was a very different kind of 
man. He was the son of a Highland clergyman, w-ho 
was much respected, and had good connections. He 
had the pride and high spirit of his countrymen. He 
was bred at St Andrews University, and had gone 
early into the world ; for being a favourite of a 
Duchess Dowager of A thole, and bred to the Church, 
she had him appointed chaplain to the 42d regiment. 


then commanded by Lord John Murray, her son, when 
he was not more than twenty-two. The Duchess had 
imposed a very difficult task upon him, which was to 
be a kind of tutor or guardian to Lord John; that is 
to say, to gain his confidence and keep him in peace 
with his officers, which it was difficult to do. This, 
however, he actually accomplished, by adding all the 
decorum belonging to the clerical character to the 
manners of a gentleman ; the eflfect of which was, that 
he was highly respected by all the officers, and adored 
by his countrymen, the common soldiers. He re- 
mained chaplain to this regiment, and went about 
with them, till 1755, when they went to America, on 
which occasion he resigned, as it did not suit his views 
to attend them there. He was a year or two with 
them in Ireland, and likewise attended them on the 
expedition to Brittany under General Sinclair, where 
his friends David Hume and Colonel Edmonstone also 
were. This turned his mind to the study of war, 
which appears in his Roman History, where many of 
the battles are better described than by any historian 
but Polybius, who was an eyewitness to so many. 

He had the manners of a man of the world, and the 
demeanour of a high-bred gentleman, insomuch that 
his company was much sought after ; for though he 
conversed with ease, it was with a dignified reserve. 
If he had any fault in conversation, it was of a piece 
with what I have said of his temper, for the elevation 
of his mind prompted him to such sudden transitions 
and dark allusions that it was not always easy to 


foUow him, though he was a very good speaker. He 
had another talent, unknown to any but his intimates, 
which was a boundless vein of humour, which he 
indulged when there were none others present, and 
which flowed from his pen in every familiar letter he 
wrote. He had the faults, however, that belonged to 
that character, for he was apt to be jealous of his 
rivals, and indignant against assumed superiority. 
His wife used to say that it was very fortunate that 
I was so much in Edinburgh, as I was a great peace- 
maker among them. She did not perceive that her 
own husband was the most difficult of them all. But 
as they were all honourable men in the highest degree, 
John Home and I together kept them on very good 
terms : I mean by them. Smith and Ferguson and 
David Hume ; for Robertson was very good-natured, 
and soon disarmed the failing of Ferguson, of whom 
he was afraid. "With respect to taste, we held David 
Hume and Adam Smith inferior to the rest, for they 
were both prejudiced in favour of the French trage- 
dies, and did not sufficiently appreciate Shakespeare 
and Milton. Their taste was a rational act, rather 
than the instantaneous efiect of fine feeling. David 
Hume said Ferguson had more genius than any of 
them, as he had made himself so much master of 
a difficult science — viz.. Natural Philosophy, which 
he had never studied but when at college — in three 
months, so as to be able to teach it. 

The time came when those who were overawed by 
Ferguson repaid him for his haughtiness ; for when 


liis Roman History was published, at a period when 
he had lost his health, and had not been able to 
correct it diligently, by a certain propensity they 
had, unknown to themselves, acquired, to disparage 
everything that came from Ferguson, they did his 
book more hurt than they could have done by open 
criticism. It was provoking to hear those who were 
so ready to give loud praises to very shallow and 
imperfect English productions — to curry favour, as we 
supposed, with the booksellers and authors concerned 
— taking every opportunity to undermine the reputa- 
tion of Ferguson's book. " It was not a Eoman his- 
tory," said they (which it did not say it was). "This 
delineation of the constitution of the republic is well 
sketched ; but for the rest, it is anything but history, 
and then it is so incorrect that it is a perfect shame." 
All his other books met with the same treatment, 
while, at the same time, there were a few of us who 
could not refrain from saying that Ferguson's was the 
best history of Eome ; that what he had omitted was 
fabulous or insignificant, and what he had wrote was 
more profound in research into characters, and gave 
a more just delineation of them than any book now 
extant. The same thing we said of his book on 
Moral Philosophy, which we held to be the book that 
did the most honour of any to the Scotch philoso- 
phers, because it gave the most perfect picture of 
moral virtues, with all their irresistible attractions. 
His book on Civil Society ought only to be considered 
as a college exercise, and yet there is in it a turn of 


thouglit and a species of eloquence peculiar to Fergu- 
son. Smith had been weak enough to accuse him 
of having borrowed some of his inventions without 
owning them. This Ferguson denied, but owned he 
derived many notions from a French author, and that 
Smith had been there before him. David Hume did 
not live to see Ferguson's History, otherwise his 
candid praise would have prevented all the subtle 
remarks of the jealous or resentful. 

With respect to Robertson and Blair, their lives and 
characters have been fully laid before the public — 
by Professor Dugald Stewart in a long life of Robert- 
son, where, though the picture is rather in disjointed 
members, yet there is hardly anything omitted that 
tends to make a judicious reader master of the char- 
acter. Dr Blair's character is more obvious in a short 
but very elegant and true account of him, drawn up 
by Dr Finlayson. John Hill is writing a more diffuse 
accoimt of the latter, which may not be so like. To 
the character of Robertson I have only to add here, 
that though he was truly a very great master of con- 
versation, and in general perfectly agreeable, yet he 
appeared sometimes so very fond of talking, even 
when showing-off was out of the question, and so 
much addicted to the translation of other people's 
thoughts, that be sometimes appeared tedious to his 
best friends.'"' Being on one occasion invited to dine 
with Patrick Robertson, his brother, I missed my 
friend, whom I had met there on all former occasions ; 

^ • See above, i». 171. 


" I have not invited him to-day," says Peter, " for I 
have a very good company, and he'll let nobody 
speak but himself." Once he was staying with me 
for a week, and I carried him to diae with our 
parish club, who were fully assembled to see and hear 
Dr Robertson, but Dr Finlay of Drummore took 
it in his head to come that day, where he had not 
been for a year before, who took the lead, being then 
rich and self-sufficient, though a great babbler, and 
entirely disappointed the company, and gave us all 
the headache. He [Robertson] was very much a mas- 
ter of conversation, and very desirous to lead it, and 
to make dissertations and raise theories that some- 
times provoked the laugh against him. One instance 
of this was when he had gone a jaunt into England 
with some of Henry Dundas's (Lord Melville's) family. 
He [Dundas] and Mr Baron Cockburn and Robert 
Sinclair were on horseback, and seeing a gallows on a 
neighbouring hillock, they rode round to have a nearer 
view of the felon on the gallows. When they met in 
the inn, Robertson immediately began a dissertation 
on the character of nations, and how much the Eng- 
lish, like the Romans, were hardened by their cruel 
diversions of cock-fighting, bull-baiting, bruising, &c. ; 
for had they not observed three Englishmen on horse- 
back do what no Scotchman or Here Dundas, 

having compassion, interrupted him, and said, " What! 
did you not know, Principal, that it was Cockburn 
and Sinclair and me V* This put an end to theories, 

* Baron Cockburn was the father of the late Lord Cockburn. — Ed. 


&c. for that day. Robertson's translations and para- 
phrases on other people's thoughts were so beautiful 
and so harmless that I never saw anybody lay claim 
to their own ; but it was not so when he forgot him- 
self so far as to think he had been present where he 
had not been, and done what he had not the least 
hand in — one very singular instance of which I re- 
member. Hugh Bannatine and some clergymen of 
Haddington Presbytery came to town in great haste, 
on their being threatened with having their goods 
distrained for payment of the window-tax. One 
of them called on me as he passed ; but as I was 
abroad, he left a note (or told JMrs C), to come to 
them directly. I rode instantly to town and met 
them, and it was agreed on to send immediately to 
the solicitor, James Montgomery. A cady was de- 
spatched, but he could not be found, till I at last 
heard his voice as I passed the door of a neighbour- 
ing room. He came to us on being sent for. and he 
immediately granted the alarmed brethren a sist. Not 
a week after, three or four of the same clergymen, 
dining at the Doctor's house where I was, the business 
was talked of, when he said, " Was not I rery fortu- 
nate in ferreting out the solicitor at Walker's, when 
no cady could find him 1 " " No, no," says I, " Prin- 
cipal ; I had that good-luck, and you were not so 
much as at the meeting." We had sent to him, and 
he could not come. " Well, well," replied he, " I have 
heard so much about it that I thought I had been 
there." He was the best-tempered man in the world. 


and the young gentlemen who had lived for many 
years in his house declared they never saw him once 
ruffled. His table, which had always been hospitable, 
even when his income was small, became full and 
elegant when his situation was improved. As he 
loved a long repast, as he called it, he was as ready 
to give it at home as to receive it abroad. The soft- 
ness of his temper, and his habits at the head of a 
party, led him to seem to promise what he was not 
able to perform, which weakness raised up to him 
some very inveterate enemies, while at the same time 
his true friends saw that those weaknesses were rather 
amiable than provoking. He was not so much be- 
loved by women as by men, which we laughingly 
used to say was owing to their rivalship as talkers, 
but was much more owing to his having been very 
little in company with ladies in his youth. He was 
early married, though his wife (a very good one) was 
not his first choice, as Stewart in his Life would make 
us believe. Though not very complaisant to women, 
he was not beyond their regimen any more than Dr 
George Wishart, for instances of both their frailties 
on that side could be quoted. 'Tis as well to mention 
them here. In the year '78, when Drs Eobertson and 
Drysdale had with much pains prepared an assembly 
to elect young Mr Robertson into the Procurator's 
chair, and to get Dr Drysdale chosen Principal Clerk 
to the Assembly, as colleague and successor to Dr 
George Wishart, it was necessary that Dr Wishart 
should resign, in order to his being re-elected with 


Drysdale ; but tliis, when first applied to, lie positively 
refused to do, because he had given his word to Dr 
Dick that he would give him a year's warning before 
he resigned. In spite of this declaration a siege was 
laid to the honest man by amazons. After several 
hearings, in which female eloquence was displayed in 
all its forms, and after many days, he yielded, as he 
said himself, to the earnest and violent solicitations of 
Dr Dr}^sdale's family. He never after had any inter- 
course with that family, nor saw them more. Mr 
James Lindsay told me this anecdote. 

Dr Robertson's weakness was as follows : He had 
engaged heartily with me, when in 1788 I stood 
candidate for the clerkship, Dr Drysdale having 
shown evident marks of decline. In the year 1787 I 
had a long evening's walk with the Procurator, when, 
after mentioning every candidate for that office we 
could think of, the Procurator at last said that no- 
body had such a good chance as myself. After a 
long discussion I yielded, and we in due form com- 
municated this resolution to his father, who consented 
with all his heart, and gave us much advice and some 
aid. When the vacancy happened, in 1789, Robert 
Adam assisted his brother-in-law with all his interest, 
which was considerable. In the mean time the same 
influence was used with Dr Robertson as had been 
with Dr Wishart, in a still more formidable shape ; 
for Mrs Drysdale was his cousin-german, and threat- 
ened him with the eternal hate of all the family. 
He also yielded ; and Robert Adam, when seriously 



pressed with a view to drop his canvass if Eobertson 
advised to — " No," Robertson said, " go on ; " as he 
thought he had the best chance. Robert Adam told 
this to Professor Ferguson when he solicited his vote. 
Robertson's conversation was not always so prudent 
as his conduct, one instance of which was his always 
asserting that any minister of state who did not take 
care of himself when he had an opportunity was no 
very wise man. This maxim shocked most young 
people, who thought the Doctor's standard of public 
virtue was not very high. This manner of talking 
likewise seconded a notion that prevailed that he was 
a very selfish man. With all those defects, his domestic 
society was pleasing beyond measure ; for his wife, 
though not a woman of parts, was well suited to him, 
wdio was more fitted to lead than to be led ; and his 
sons and daugliters led so happy a life that his guests, 
which we were often for a week together, met with 
nothing but welcome, and peace, and joy. This inter- 
course was not much diminished by his having not 
put any confidence in me when he left the business of 
the Church, further than saying that he intended to do 
it. Though he knew that I was much resorted to for 
advice when he retired, he never talked to me on the 
subject, at which I was somewhat indignant. His 
deviations in politics lessened the freedom of our con- 
versation, though we still continued in good habits ; 
but ever after he left the leading in Church affairs, he 
appeared to me to have lost his spirits; and still more, 
when the magistrates resorted to Dr Blair, instead of 

DR BLAIR. 291 

him, for advice about their choice of professors and 
ministers. I had discovered his having sacrificed me 
to Mrs Drysdale, in 1 789, but was long acquainted with 
liis weaknesses, and forgave him ; nor did I ever up- 
braid him with it but in general terms, such as that I 
had lost the clerksliip by the keenness of my opponents 
and the coldness of my friends. I had such a conscious 
superiority over him in that affair that I did not choose 
to put an old friend to the trial of making his fault 
greater by a lame excuse. 

Dr Blair was a different kind of man from Eobert- 
son, and his character is very justly delineated by Dr 
Finlayson, so far as he goes. Robertson was most 
sagacious, Blair was most naif. Neither of them could 
be said to have either wit or humour. Of the latter 
Kobertson had a small tincture — Blair had hardly a 
relish for it. Robertson had a bold and ambitious 
mind, and a strong desire to make himself considerable; 
Blair was timid and unambitious, and withheld him- 
self from public business of every kind, and seemed 
to have no wish but to be admired as a preacher, 
particularly by the ladies. His conversation was so 
infantine that many people thought it impossible, at 
first sight, that he could be a man of sense or genius. 
He was as eager about a new paper to his wife's 
dra\^'ing-room, or his own new wig, as about a new 
tragedy or a new epic poem. Xot long before his 
death I called upon him, when I found him restless 
and fidgetty. " What is the matter with you to-day." 
says I, " my good friend — are you welll" " yes,' 

292 DR BLAIR. 

says he, " but I must dress myself, for the Duchess of 
Leinster has ordered her granddaughters not to leave 
Scotland without seeing me." "Go and dress your- 
self, Doctor, and I shall read this novel ; for I am re- 
solved to see the Ducliess of Leinster's granddaughters, 
for I knew their father and grandfather." This being 
settled, the young ladies, with their governess, arrived 
at one, and turned out poor little girls of twelve and 
thirteen, who could hardly be supposed to carry a 
well-turned compliment which the Doctor gave them 
in charge to their grandmother. 

Eobertson had so great a desire to shine himself, 
that I hardly ever saw him patiently bear anybody 
else's showing-off but Dr Johnson and Garrick. Blair, 
on the contrary, though capable of the most profound 
conversation, when circumstances led to it, had not 
the least desire to shine, but was delighted beyond 
measure to show other people in their best guise to his 
friends. " Did not I show you the lion well to-day? " 
used he to say after the exhibition of a remarkable 
stranger. For a vain man, he was the least envious I 
ever knew. He had truly a pure mind, in which there 
was not the least malignity ; for though he was of a 
quick and lively temper, and apt to be warm and 
impatient about trifles, his wife, who was a superior 
woman, only laughed, and his friends joined her. 
Thouo-h Kobertson was never ruffled, he had more 
animosity in his nature than Blair. They were both 
reckoned selfish by those who envied their prosperity, 
but on very unequal grounds ; for though Blair talked 

DR BLAIR. 293 

selfisKly enough sometimes, yet he never failed in 
generous actions. In one respect they were quite alike. 
Having been bred at a time when the common people 
thought to play with cards or dice was a sin, and 
everybody thought it an indecorum in clergymen, they 
could neither of them play at golf or bowls, and far 
less at cards or backcrammon, and on that account 
were very unhappy when from home in friends' houses 
in the country in rainy weather. As I had set the firat 
example of playing at cards at home with unlocked 
doors, and so relieved the clergy from ridicule on that 
side, they both learned to play at whist after they were 
sixty. Robertson did very well — Blair never shone. 
fle had his country quarters for two summers in my 
parish, where he and his wife were quite happy. 
We were much together. Mrs C, who had wit and 
humour in a high degree, and an acuteness and extent 
of mind that made her fit to converse with philosophers, 
and indeed a great favourite with them all, gained 
much upon Blair; and, as Mrs B. alleged, could make 
him believe whatever she pleased. They took delight 
in raising the wonder of the sage Doctor. " Who told 
you that story, my dear Doctor { " " No," says he, 
" don't you doubt it, for it was Mrs C. who told me." 
On my laughing — " and so, so," said he, " I must here- 
after make allowance for her imagination." 

Blair had lain under obligation to Lord Leven's 
family for his first church, which he left within the 
year; but though that connection was so soon dis- 
solved, and though Blair took a side in Church politics 

29 1 DR BLATR. 

wholly opposite to Lord Leven's, the Doctor always 
behaved to the family with great respect, and kept up 
a visiting correspondence with them all his life. Not 
so Eobertson with the Arniston family, who had got 
him the church of Gladsmuir. The first President 
failed and died — not, however, till he had marked his 
approbation of Eobertson — in 1751. His manner had 
not been pleasing to him, so that he was alienated till 
Harry grew up ; but him he deserted also, on the 
change in 1782, being dazzled with the prospect of 
his son's having charge of ecclesiastical affairs, as his 
cousin John Adam was to have of political, during 
Eockingham's new ministry. This threw a cloud on 
Eobertson which was never dispelled. Blair had for a 
year been tutor to Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat's eldest 
son, whose steady friendship he preserved to the last, 
though the General was not remarkable for that ami- 
able weakness ; witness the saying of a common soldier 
whom he had often promised to make a sergeant, but 
never performed, " Oh ! Simon, Simon, as long as you 
continue to live. Lord Lovat is not dead." 

Five or six days before he [Blair] died, finding him 
well and in good spirits, I said to him, " Since you don't 
choose to dine abroad in this season (December), you 
may at least let a friend or two dine with you." *' Well, 
well, come you and dine with me to-morrow," looking 
earnestly at Miss Hunter, his niece. " I am engaged 
to-morrow, but I can return at four to-day." He looked 
more earnestly at his niece. " What's to hinder him ^ " 
said she, meaning to answer his look, which said 


" Have you any dinner to-day, Betty 1 " I returned, 
accordingly, at four, and never passed four hours more 
agreeably with him, nor had more enlightened conver- 
sation. Xay more, three days before his death he sent 
to John Home a part of his History, with two or tlireo 
pages of criticism on that part of it that relates to 
Provost Drummond, in which he and I thought John 
egregiously wrong. 

It was long before Blair's circumstances were full, 
yet he lived handsomely, and had literary strangers at 
his house, as well as many friends. A task imposed 
on both Eobertson and Blair was reading manuscript 
prepared for the press, of which Blair had the greatest 
share of the poetry, and Eobertson of the other writ- 
ings, and they were both kind encouragers of young 
men of merit. 

In John Home's younger days he had a good share of 
wit, much sprightliness and vivacity, so that he infused 
joy and a social exhilaration wherever he came. His 
address was cordial and benevolent, which inspired his 
companions with similar sentiments. Superior know- 
ledge and learning, except in the department of poetry, 
he had not, but such was the charm of his fine spirits 
in those days, that when he left the room prematurely, 
which was but seldom the case, the company grew 
duU, and soon dissolved. As John all his life had a 
thorough contempt for such as neglected or disap- 
proved of his poetry, he treated all who approved of his 
works with a partiality which more than approached 
to flatter}'. The effect of this temper was, that all his 


opinions of men and things were prejudices, which, 
though it did not disqualify him for writing admirable 
poetry, yet made him unfit for writing history or other 
prose works. He was in no respect a man of business, 
though he now and then spoke with some energy and 
success in the General Assembly ; but he had no turn 
for debate, which made me glad when he was dis- 
appointed in his wish of obtaining a seat in the House 
of Commons, which was owing to the good sense of 
Sir Gilbert Elliot and Sir William Pulteney. 

This has been a long digression from my narration ; 
but having noted down one character, I thought it best 
to go on with a few more, lest I should forget some 
particulars which then occurred to me. 

It was in the year 1754 that my cousin, Captain 
Lyon, died at London, of a high fever. His wife. 
Lady Catherine Bridges, had conducted herself so 
very loosely and ill, that it was suspected that she 
wished for his death ; but it was a brain fever of 
which he died ; and as his wife had sent for Dr Monro, 
the physician employed about the insane, his mother, 
in the rage of her grief, alleged that his wife had 
occasioned his death. Her tM^o children died not long 
after. Lady Catherine confirmed all her mother-in- 
law's suspicions by marrying a Mr Stanhope, one of her 
many lovers. By this time a large fortune had fallen 
to her. She was truly a worthless woman, to my know- 
ledge. Lyon and his children were buried in the Duke 
of Chandos's vault at Canons, by His Grace's order. 

In this year, 1 754, I remember nothing remarkable 


in the General Assembly. But this was the year in 
which the Select Society was established, which im- 
proved and gave a name to the literati of this country, 
then beoinnino; to distinsjuish themselves. I gave an 
account of this institution, and a list of the members, 
to Dugald Stuart, which he inserted in his Life of 
Robertson. But that list did not contain the whole 
of the members ; some had died before the list was 
printed, and some were admitted after it was printed. 
Of the first were Lord Dalmeny, the elder brother of the 
present Lord Rosebery, who was a man of letters and 
an amateur, and, though he did not speak himself, 
generally carried home six or eight of those who did 
to sup with him. There was also a Peter Duff, a 
writer to the signet, who was a shrewd, sensible fellow, 
and pretending to be unlearned, surprised us with his 
observations in strong Buchan.* The Duke of Hamil- 
ton of that period, a man of letters, could he have 
kept himself sober, was also a member, and spoke 
there one night. Lord Dalmeny died in 1755. Mr 
Robert Alexander, wine merchant, a very worthy man, 
but a bad speaker, entertained us all with warm sup- 
pers and excellent claret, as a recompense for the 
patient hearing of his ineffectual attempts, when I 
often thought he would have beat out his brains on 
account of their constipation. The conversation at 
those convivial meetings frequently improved the 
members more by free conversation than the speeches 

* Viz. , Asith the accent peculiar to the district of Buchao, in Aberdeen- 
shire. — Ed. 


in the Society. It was those meetings in particular 
that rubbed off all corners, as we call it, by collision, 
and made the literati of Edinburgh less captious and 
pedantic than they were elsewhere. 

The Earl of Hopetoun was Commissioner of the 
General Assembly. The Earl of Dumfries had wished 
for it ; but some of the ministers, thinking that it 
would be proper to disappoint him, by a little intrigue 
contrived to get the King to nominate Hopetoun, who 
accepted it for one year, and entertained his company 
in a sumptuous manner. At his table I saw the 
Duchess of Hamilton (Mary Gunning), without doubt 
the most beautiful woman of her time. 

In the end of summer. Lady Dalkeith, the Duke of 
Buccleuch's mother, who had been a widow since the 
year 1750, came to Dalkeith, and brought with her 
the Honourable Mr Stuart M'Kenzie and his lady, the 
Countess's sister, and remained there for two months. 
They had public days twice in the week, and I fre- 
quently dined there. The Countess was well-bred and 
agreeable ; and, acting plays being the rage at the 
time among people of quality, she proposed to act a 
tragedy at Dalkeith House, viz. " The Fair Penitent," 
in which her ladyship and Mr M'Kenzie were to have 
principal parts. Mr John Grant, advocate, then chief 
manager of the Duke of Buccleuch's estates, and living 
at Castlesteads, was to play the part of the father, and 
it was requested of me to assist him in preparing his 
part. I found him a stiff, bad reader, of affected 
English, which we call napping, and tolerably obsti- 


nate. But luckily for both master and scholar, the 
humour was soon changed, by somebody representing 
to her ladyship that her acting plays would give 
offence. Mr M'Kenzie was very agreeable, his vanity 
having carried him so far above his family pride as to 
make him wish to please his inferiors. I was simple 
enouo;h then to think that my conversation and man- 
ners had not been disagreeable to him, so that when I 
was at London four years after, I attempted to avail 
myself of his acquaintance ; but it would not do, for I 
was chilled to death on my first approach, so that all 
my intimacy vanished in a few jokes, which sometimes 
he condescended to make when he met me on the 
streets, and which I received with the coldness they 
were entitled to. 

By this time John Home had almost finished his 
tragedy of Douglas ; for on one of the days that I was 
at Dalkeith House I met Sir Gilbert Elliot, who, on 
my telling him that I had three acts of it written in 
my hand, came round with me to my house in Mussel- 
burgh, where I read them, to his great delight. This 
was in July or August 1754. I do not remember 
whether or not he saw the two last acts at this time — 
I should think not ; for I remember that I wrote three 
acts of it a good many months afterwards, to be sent 
up suddenly to Sir Gilbert, while a writer's clerk wrote 
out fair the other two acts. 

In February of this year Home and I suffered 
severely by the death of friends. George Logan, min- 
ister of Ormiston, was seized with a brain fever, of 


which he died in a few days. I was sent for by his 
wife, and remained by his bedside from five in the 
afternoon till one in the morning, when he expired. 
He raved the whole time, except during the few min- 
utes in which I prayed with him. I am not sure that 
he knew, for he soon relapsed into his ravings again, 
and never ceased till the great silencer came. I have 
given the character of his mind before (p. 234). The 
grief of his wife, who never could be comforted, though 
she lived to an advanced age, was a proof of his kind 
and affectionate temper. They had no children. 

After my friend's death I had returned home on 
Sunday morning to do duty in Inveresk church, and 
in the evening about six, John Home, to whom I had 
sent an express, arrived from Polwarth. On hearing 
the bad news, he had almost fainted, and threw himself 
on the bed, and sobbed and wept. After a while I 
raised him, by asking if he could think of no misfor- 
tune greater than the death of Logan ? He started 
up, and cried, " Is my brother David gone 1" I had 
received an express from his brother George, in Leith, 
that afternoon, to tell me of their brother David's 
death on the voyage. He was John's only uterine 
brother alive — had been at home the autumn before 
— and was truly a fine-spirited promising young man. 
He had gone out that fall first mate of an Indiaman. 
After another short paroxysm of grief — for his stock 
was almost spent before — he rose and took his supper, 
and, insisting on my making a good bowl of punch, we 
talked over the perfections of the deceased, went to 


bed and slept sound. In the morning he was taken 
up with the suit of mourning he was going to order, 
and for which he went to Edinburgh on purpose. I 
mention these circumstances to show that there are 
very superior minds on which the loss of friends makes 
very little impression. He was not likely to feel more 
on any future occasion than on this ; for as people 
grow older, not only experience hardens them to such 
events, but, growing daily more selfish, they feel less 
for other people. 

In the month of February 1755, John Home's tra- 
gedy of Douglas was completely prepared for the 
stage, and had received all the corrections and im- 
provements that it needed by many excellent critics, 
who were Mr Home's friends, whom I have mentioned 
before, and with whom he daily lived. [He accord- 
ingly set out for London, andj were I to relate aU the 
circumstances, serious and ludicrous, wliich attended 
the outset of this journey, I am persuaded they would 
not be exceeded by any novelist who has wrote since 
the days of the inimitable Don Quixote. Six or seven 
Merse ministers — the half of whom had slept at the 
manse of Polwarth, bad as it was, the night before — 
set out for Woolerhaughhead in a snowy morning in 
February. Before we had gone far we discovered that 
our bard had no mode of carrying his precious trea- 
sure, which we thought enough of, but hardly foresaw 
that it was to be pronounced a perfect tragedy by the 
best judges ; for when David Hume gave it that 
praise, he spoke only the sentiment of the whole re- 


public of belles lettres. The tragedy in one pocket 
of his greatcoat, and his clean shirt and nightcap in 
the other, though they balanced each other, was 
thought an unsafe mode of conveyance ; and our 
friend — who, like most of his brother poets, was unapt 
to foresee difficulties and provide against them — had 
neglected to buy a pair of leather bags as he passed 
through Haddington. We bethought us that possibly 
James Landreth, minister of Simprin, and clerk of the 
Synod, would be provided with such a convenience 
for the carriage of his Synod records ; and having no 
wife, no ati^a cu7'a, to resist our request, we unani- 
mously turned aside half-a-mile to call at James's ; and, 
concealing our intention at first, we easily persuaded 
the honest man to join us in this convoy to his friend 
Mr Home, and then observing the danger the manu- 
script might run in a greatcoat-pocket on a journey 
of 400 miles, we inquired if he could lend Mr Home 
his valise only as far as Wooler, where he would pur- 
chase a new pair for himself. This he very cheerfully 
granted. But while his pony was preparing, he had 
another trial to go through ; for Cupples, who never 
had any money, though he was a bachelor too, and 
had twice the stipend of Landreth, took the latter 
into another room, where the conference lasted longer 
•than we wished for, so that we had to bawl out for 
them to come away. We afterwards understood that 
Cupples, having only four shillings, was pressing Land- 
reth to lend him half-a-guinea, that he might be able 
to defray the expense of the journey. Honest James, 


who knew that John Home, if he did not return his 
own valise, which was very improbable, would provide 
him in a better pair, had frankly agreed to the first 
request ; but as he knew Cupples never paid anything, 
he was very reluctant to part with his half-guinea. 
However, having at last agreed, we at last set out, and 
I think gallant troops, but so-and-so accoutred, to make 
an inroad on the English border. By good luck the 
river Tweed was not come down, and we crossed it 
safely at the ford near Xorham Castle ; and, as the day 
mended, we got to Woolerhaughhead by four o'clock, 
where we got but an indifferent dinner, for it was but a 
miserable house in those days ;* but a happier or more 
jocose and merry company could hardly be assembled. 

John Home and I, who slept in one room, or per- 
haps in one bed, as was usual in those days, were dis- 
turbed by a noise in the night, which being in the 
next room, where Laurie and Monteith were, we found 
they had quarrelled and fought, and the former had 
pushed the latter out of bed. After having acted as 
mediators in this quarrel, we had sound sleep till 
morninir. Havino: breakfasted as well as the house 
could afford, Cupples and I, who had agreed to go two 
days' journey further with Mr Home, set off south- 
wards with him, and the rest returned by the way 
they had come to Berwickshire again. 

Mr Home had by that time got a very fine gallo- 
way from his friend Eobert Adam when he was set- 
ting out for Italy. John had called this horse Piercy, 
who, though only fourteen and a half hands high, was 


ODe of the best trotters ever seen, and having a good 
deal of blood ia him, when he was well used, was in- 
defatigable. He carried our bard for many years with 
much classical fame, and rose in reputation with his 
master, but at last made an inglorious end.* I had a 
fine galloway too, though not more than thirteen and 
a half hands, which, though much slower than Piercy, 
easily went at the rate of fifty miles a-day, on the 
turnpike road, without being at all tired. 

Cupples and I attended Home as far as Ferryhill, 
about six miles, where, after remaining all night with 
him, we parted next morning, he for London, and we 
on our return home. Poor Home had no better suc- 
cess on this occasion than before, with still greater 
mortification ; for Garrick, after reading the play, re- 
turned it with an opinion that it was totally unfit for 
the stage. On this occasion Home wrote a pathetic 

* Piercifs end. — Robert Adam, on his setting out for London to go to 
Italy, and some of liis brothers, with John, and Commissioner Cardonnel, 
had dined with me one day. Cardonnel, while their horses were getting 
ready, insisted on our going to his gai'den to drink a couple of bottles of 
some French white wine, which he said was as good as champagne. We 
went with him, but when we sat down in his arbour we missed Bob Adam. 
We soon finished our wine, which we drank out of rummers, and returned 
to the manse, where we found Robert galloping round the green on Piercy 
like a madman, which he repeated, after seeing us, for at least ten times. 
Home stopped him, and had some talk with him ; so the brothers at last 
went off qiiietly for Edinburgh, while Home remained to stay all night or 
go home. He told me what put Robert into such trim. He had been 
making love to my maid Jenny, who was a handsome lass, and had even 
gone the length of offering to carry her to London, and pension her there. 
All his offers were rejected, which had put him in a flurry. This happened 
in summer 1754. Many a time Piercy carried John to London, and once in 
six days. He sent him at last to Sir David Kinloch, that he might end his 
days in peace and ease in one of the parks of Gilmerton. Sir David tired 
of him in a few weeks, and sold him to an egg-carrier for twenty shillings ! 


copy of verses, addressed to Shakespeare's image in 
Westminster Abbey. 

Cupples and I had a diverting journey back ; for 
as his money had failed, and I had not an overflow, 
we were obliged to feed our horses in Newcastle with- 
out dining, and to make the best of our way to Mot- 
peth, where we got an excellent hot supper. Next 
day, staying too long in Alnwick to visit the castle, 
we lost our way in the night, and were in some hazard, 
and it was past twelve before we reached Berwick ; 
but in those days nothing came wrong to us — youth 
and good spirits made us convert aU maladventures 
into fun. The Virgin's Inn, as it was called, being at 
that time the best, and on the south side of the bridge, 
made us forget all our disasters. 

It was in the time of the sitting of the General 
Assembly that Lord Drummore died, at the age of 
sixt}''-three. He had gone the Western Circuit ; and 
Hy drying up an issue in his leg, being a corpulent 
man who needed such a drain, he contracted a gan- 
grene, of which he died in a few weeks, very much 
regretted — more, indeed, than any man I ever knew. 
His having got a legacy from* the year 

before, and built himself a comfortable house on his 
small estate, where he only had a cottage before, and 
where he had slept only two or three nights for his 
iQness, was a circumstance that made his family and 
friends feel it the more. He had been married to an 
advocate's daughter of Aberdeenshire, of the name of 

• Blank in MS. 



Home, by whom a good estate came into his family. 
By her he had five sons and three daughters. Three 
of the sons in snccession inherited the name and estate 
of Home. 

After Lord Drummore became a widower, he at- 
tached himself to a mistress, which, to do so openly as 
he did, was at that time reckoned a great indecorum, 
at least in one of his age and reverend office. This was 
all that coCild be laid to his charge, which, however, 
did not abate the universal concern of the city and 
county when he was dying. His cousin, Lord Cath- 
cart, was Commissioner that year for the first time. 
His eldest son at his death was Lieutenant-General 
Home Dalrymple ; his second, David Dalrj^mple, 
some time afterwards Lord Westhall ; his youngest, 
Campbell, who was distinguished afterwards in the 
AVest Indies, and was a lieutenant-colonel and Gover- 
nor of Guadaloupe. 

At my father's desire, who was minister of the parish 
where Drummore resided, I wrote a character of him, 
which he delivered from his pulpit the Sunday after 
his funeral. This was printed in the Scots Magazine 
for June 1755, and was commended by the publisher, 
and well received by the public. This was the first 
time I had seen my prose in print, and it gave me 
some confidence in my own talent. 

In the year 1756 hostilities were begun between 
the French and British, after they had given us much 
provocation in America. Braddock, an officer of the 
Guards — very brave, though unfit for the business on 


wliicli he was sent — havino- been defeated and slain at 


Fort Du Quesne (a misfortune afterwards repaired by 
General John Forbes), reprisals were made by the 
capture of French ships A\dthout a declaration of war. 
The French laid siege to Minorca, and Admiral Byng 
was sent with a fleet of thirteen ships of the line 
to throw in succours and raise the siege. The expec- 
tation of the country was raised very high on this 
occasion, and yet was disappointed. 

Concerning this I remember a very singular anec- 
dote. Diuing the sitting of the General Assembly 
that year, by desire of James Lindsay, a company of 
seven or eight, all clergymen, supped at a punch-house 
in the Bow, kept by an old servant of his, who had 
also been with George Wishart. In that time of san- 
guine hopes of a complete victory, and the total defeat 
of the French fleet, all the company expressed their 
full behef that the next post would bring us great 
news, except John Home alone, who persisted in say- 
ing that there would be no battle at all, or, at the 
best, if there was a battle, it would be a drawn one. 
John's obstinacy provoked the company, in so much 
that James Landreth, the person who had lent him the 
valise the year before, offered to lay a half-crown bowl 
of punch that the first mail from the Mediterranean 
would bring us the news of a complete victory. John 
took this bet ; and when he and I were walking to our 
lodging together, I asked what in the world had made 
him so positive. He answered that Byng was a man 
who would shun fighting if it were possible ; and 


that liis ground of knowledge was from Admiral Smith, 
who, a few years back, had commanded at Leith, who 
lodged with his friend Mr Walter Scott, and who, 
when he was confined with the gout, used to have 
him to come and chat with him, or play at cards when 
he was able ; and that, talking of the characters of 
different admirals, he had told him that Byng, though 
a much -admired commander and manoeuvrer of a 
fleet, would shun fighting whenever he could. The 
Gazette soon cleared up to us the truth of this asser- 
tion, though the first accounts made it be believed 
that the French were defeated. A full confirmation 
of this anecdote I heard two years afterwards. 

It was during this Assembly that the Carriers' Inn, 
in the lower end of the West Bow, got into some 
credit, and was called the Diversorium. Thomas Nicol- 
son was the man's name, and his wife's Nelly Douglas. 
They liad been servants of Lord EUiock's, and had 
taken up this small inn, in which there were three 
rooms, and a stable below for six or eight horses. 
Thomas was a confused, ratthng, coarse fellow ; Nelly 
was a comely woman, a person of good sense, and very 
worthy. Some of our companions frequented the 
house, and Home and I suspected it was the hand- 
some landlady who had attracted their notice, but it 
was not so. Nelly was an honest woman, but she had 
prompted her husband to lend them two or three 
guineas on occasions, and did not suddenly demand 
repayment. Home and I followed Logan, James 
Craig, and William Gullen, and were pleased with the 


house. He and I happening to dine with Dr Robert- 
son at his uncle's, who lived in Pinkie House, a week 
before the General Assembly, some of us proposed to 
order Thomas Nicolson to lay in twelve dozen of the 
same claret, then 18s. per dozen, from Mr Scott, wine 
merchant at Leith — for in his house we proposed to 
make our Assembly parties ; for, being out of the way, 
we proposed to have snug parties of our own friends. 
This was accordingly executed, but we could not be 
concealed ; for, as it happens in such cases, the out-of- 
the-way place and mean house, and the attempt to be 
private, made it the more frequented — and no wonder, 
when the company consisted of Robertson, Home, 
Ferguson, Jardine, and Wilkie, with the addition of 
David Hume and Lord Elibank, the Master of Ross, 
and Sir Gilbert Elliot. 


1756-1758: AGE, 34-36. 







In October 1756, John Home had been taken by Lord 
Milton's family to Inverary, to be introduced to the 
Duke, who was much taken with his liveliness and 
gentlemanlike manners. The Duke's good opinion 
made Milton adhere more firmly to him, and assist in 
bringing on his play in the end of that season. 

It was in the end of this year, 1756, that Douglas 
was first acted in Edinburgh. Mr Home had been 
unsuccessful in London the year before, but he was 
well with Sir Gilbert Elliot, Mr Oswald of Dunnikier, 
and had the favour and friendship of Lord Milton and 
all his family ; and it was at last agreed among them 
that, since Garrick could not yet be prevailed on to 
get Douglas acted, it should be brought on here ; for 
if it succeeded in the Edinburgh theatre, then Garrick 
could resist no longer. 


There happened to be a pretty good set of players; 
for Digges, whose relations had got him debarred from 
the London theatres, had come down here, and per- 
formed many principal parts with success. He was a 
very handsome young man at that time, with a genteel 
address. He had drunk tea at Mally Campbell's, in 
Glasgow College, when he was an ensign in the year 
174.5. I was there, and thought him very agreeable. 
He was, however, a great profligate and spendthrift ; 
and poltroon, I'm afraid, into the bargain. He had 
been on the stage for some time, having been obliged 
to leave the army. Mrs Ward turned out an exceed- 
ing good Lady Eandolph ; Lowe performed Glen- 
alvon well ; Mr Haymen the Old Shepherd, and 
Digges himself young Douglas. I attended two re- 
hearsals with our author, and Lord Elibank, and Dr 
Ferguson, and David Hume, and was truly astonished 
at the readiness with which Mrs Ward conceived the 
Lady's character, and how happily she delivered it. 
To be near Digges's lodgings in the Canongate, where 
the first rehearsals were performed, the gentlemen 
mentioned, with two or three more, dined together at 
a tavern in the Abbey two or three times, where pork 
griskins being a favourite dish, this was called the 
Griskin Club, and excited much curiosity, as every- 
thing did in which certain people were concerned. 

The play had unbounded success for a great many 
nights in Edinburgli, and was attended by all the 
literati and most of the judges, who, except one or 
two, had not been in use to attend the theatre. The 


town in general was in an uproar of exultation that 
a Scotchman had written a tragedy of the first rate, 
and that its merit was first submitted to their judg- 
ment. There were a few opposers, however, among 
those who pretended to taste and literature, who en- 
deavoured to cry down the performance in libellous 
pamphlets and ballads (for they durst not attempt to 
oppose it in the theatre itself), and were openly coun- 
tenanced by Robert Dundas of Arniston, at that time 
Lord Advocate, and all his minions and expectants. 
The High-flying set were unanimous against it, as 
they thought it a sin for a clergyman to write any 
play, let it be ever so moral in its tendency. Several 
ballads and pamphlets were published on our side in 
answer to the scurrilities against us, one of which 
was written by Adam Ferguson, and another by my- 
self. Ferguson's was mild and temperate ; and, besides 
other arguments, supported the lawfulness and use of 
dramatic writing from the example of Scripture, which 
he exhibited in the story of Joseph and his brethren, 
as having truly the efiect of a dramatic composition. 
This was much read among the grave and sober- 
minded, and converted some, and confirmed many in 
their belief of the usefulness of the stage. Mine was 
of such a different nature that many people read it 
at first as intended to ridicule the performance, and 
bring it into contempt, for it was entitled " An Argu- 
ment to prove that the Tragedy of Douglas ought to 
be publicly burnt by the Hands of the Hangman." 
The zeal and violence of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, 


who had made enactments and declarations to be 
read in the pulpit, provoked me to write this pam- 
phlet, which, in the ironical manner of Swift, con- 
tained a severe satire on all our opponents. This 
was so well concealed, however, that the pamphlet 
being published when I was at Dumfries, about the 
end of January, visiting Provost Bell, who was on his 
deathbed, some copies arrived there by the carriers, 
which being opened and read by my sister and aunt 
when I was abroad, they conceived it to be serious, 
and that the tragedy would be quite undone, till Mr 
Stewart, the Comptroller of the Customs, who was a 
man of sense and reading, came in, and who soon 
undeceived them, and convinced them that Douglas 
was triumphant. This pamphlet had a great effect 
by elating our friends, and perhaps more in exasperat- 
ing our enemies ; which was by no means softened by 
Lord Elibank and David Hume, &c., running about 
and crying it up as the first performance the world 
had seen for half a century. 

What I really valued myself most upon, however, 
was half a sheet, which I penned very suddenly, 
Digges rode out one forenoon to me, saying that he 
had come by Mr Home's desire to inform me that 
all the town had seen the play, and that it would run 
no longer, unless some contrivance was fallen upon to 
make the lower orders of tradesmen and apprentices 
come to the playhouse. After hearing several ways 
of raising the curiosity of the lower orders, I desired 
him to take a walk for half an hour, and look at the 


view from Inveresk churcliyard, which he did ; and, 
in the mean time, I drew up what I entitled " A full 
and true History of the Bloody Tragedy of Douglas^ 
as it is now to be seen acting in the Theatre at the 
Canongate." This was cried about the streets next 
day, and filled the house for two nights more. 

I had attended the playhouse, not on the first or 
second, but on the third night of the performance, 
being well aware that all the fanatics and some other 
enemies would be on the watch, and make all the 
advantage they possibly could against me. But six 
or seven friends of the author, clergymen from the 
Merse, having attended, reproached me for my cow- 
ardice ; and above all, the author himself and some 
female friends of his having heated me by their up- 
braidings, I went on the third night, and having 
taken charge of the ladies, I drew on myself all the 
clamours of tongues and violence of prosecution 
which I afterwards underwent. I believe I have 
already mentioned that Dr Patrick Cuming having 
become jealous of WiUiam -Kobertson and John Home 
and myself on account of our intimacy with Lord 
Milton, and observing his active zeal about the 
tragedy oi Douglas, took it into his head that he 
could blow us up and destroy our popularity, and 
consequently disgust Lord Milton with us. Very 
warmly, with aU the friends he could get to follow 
him — particularly Hyndman his second — he joined 
with Webster and his party in doing everything 
they could to depreciate the tragedy of Douglas, and 


disgrace all its partisans. With this view, besides the 
Act of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, which was read 
in all the churches, and that of the Presbytery of 
Glasgow, who followed them, they had decoyed ]\Ir 
Thomas Whyte, minister of Liberton, an honest but a 
quiet man, to submit to a six-weeks' suspension for 
his having attended the tragedy of Douglas, which he 
had confessed he had done.* This they had con- 
trived as an example for prosecuting me, and at least 
getting a similar sentence pronounced against me by 
the Presbytery of Dalkeith. On returning from Dum- 
fries, in the second week of February 1757, I was 
surprised not only to find the amazing hue and cry 
that had been raised against Douglas, but all the 
train that had been laid against me, and a summons 
to attend the Presbytery, to answer for my conduct, 
on the 1st day of March. 

On deliberating about this affair, with all the know- 
ledge I had of the laws of the Church and the con- 
fidence I had in the good-will of my parish, I took a 
firm resolution not to submit to what I saw the Pres- 
bytery intended, but to stand my groimd on a firm 
opinion that my offence was not a foundation for a 
libel, but, if anything at all, a mere impropriety or 
offence against decorum, which ought to be done at 
privy censures by an admonition. This ground I 
took, and never departed from it ; but I, at the same 
time, resolved to mount my horse, and visit every 

* Whyte owed the mitigated sentence to his plea, that, thongh he attended, 
he concealed himself as well as he could to avoid giving offmce. — Ed. 


member of Presbytery, especially my opponents, and, 
by a free confession, endeavour to bring them over to 
my opinion. They received me diflferently — some 
with a contemptible dissimulation, and others with a 
provoking reserve and haughtiness. I saw that they 
had the majority of the Presbytery on their side, and 
that the cabal was firm, and that no submission on 
my part would turn them aside from their purpose. 
This confirmed my resolution not to yield, but to run 
every risk rather than furnish an example of tame 
submission, not merely to a fanatical, but an illegal 
exertion of power, which would have stamped dis- 
grace on the Church of Scotland, kept the younger 
clergy for half a century longer in the trammels of 
bigotry or hypocrisy, and debarred every generous 
spirit from entering into orders. The sequel of the 
story is pretty fully and correctly stated in the Scots 
Magazine for 1757, to which I shall only add a few 
particulars, which were less known. 

Joseph M'Cormick, at this time tutor to young Mr 
Hepburn of Clarkington, and afterwards Principal of 
St Andrews United Colleges, had entered on trials 
before the Presbytery of Dalkeith, and had two or 
three times attended the tragedy of Douglas. This 
he told them himself, which threw them into a di- 
lemma, out of which they did not know how to 
escape. To take no notice of his having attended 
the theatre, while they were prosecuting me, was a 
very glaring inconsistency. On the other hand, to 
send him out as a probationer, with the slur of an 


ecclesiastical censure on his character, was injustice 
to the young man, and might disoblige his friends. 
So reasoned the Jesuits of Dalkeith Presbytery. 
M'Cormick himself showed them the way out of this 
snare into which their zeal and hypocrisy had led 
them. After allowing them to flounce about in it for 
a quarter of an hour (as he told them afterwards 
with infinite humour), he represented that his pupil 
and he, having some time before gone into their 
lodgings in Edinburgh for the remainder of the sea- 
son, he would be much obliged to the Presbyter}' of 
Dalkeith if they would transfer him to the Presby- 
tery of Edinburgh to take the remainder of his trials. 
With this proposal they very cheerfully closed, whilst 
M'Cormick inwardly laughed (for he was a laughing 
philosopher) at their profligate hypocrisy. 

It is proper to mention here that during the course 
of this trial I received several anonymous letters from 
a person deservedly high in reputation in the Church 
for learning, and ability, and liberality of sentiment — 
the late Dr Robert Wallace — which supported me in 
my resolution, and gave me the soundest advice with 
respect to the management of my cause. I had re- 
ceived two of those letters before I knew from whence 
they came, when, on showing them to my father, he 
knew the hand, as the Doctor and he had been at 
college together. This circumstance prevented my 
father from wavering, to which he was liable, and 
even strengthened my own mind. 

It is necessary, likewise, to advert here to the con- 


duct of Robert Dundas of Arniston, at that time 
-King's Advocate, as it accounts for that animosity 
which arose against him among my friends of the 
Moderate party, and the success of certain satirical 
ballads and pamphlets which were published some 
years after. This was his decided opposition to the 
tragedy of Douglas, which was perfectly known from 
his own manner of talking — though more cautious 
than that of his enemies, who opened loud upon 
Home and his tragedy — and likewise from this cir- 
cumstance, that Thomas Turnbull, his friend, who 
took my side in the Presbytery, being influenced by 
his brother-in-law, Dr Wallace, was ever after out 
of favour at Arniston ; and what was more, Dr Wal- 
lace, who was of the Lord Advocate's political party, 
incurred his displeasure so much, that, during the 
remainder of his own life, George Wallace, advocate, 
who was under the protection of the family of Arnis- 
ton, was totally neglected.* This piece of injustice 
was not explained till after his death, when his son 
Robert, of the most amiable and liberal mind, gave 
him [Wallace] a judge's place in the commissariat 
of Edinburgh. It was farther proved by the unsea- 
sonable application of my friend, Mr Baron Grant, 
who was his political friend and companion, to allay 
the heat of the Presbytery of Dalkeith, and induce 
them to withdraw their prosecution, when a word 

* George Wallace, author of a folio volume — the first of an indefinite 
series never completed — called A System of the Principles of the Law of Scot- 
land, and of a book on The Nature and Descent of certain Peerages connected 
with the Kingdom of Scotland. As to his father, see above, p. 240. — Ed. 


from him woiild liave done. This conduct of Diindas 
might in part be imputed to his want of taste and 
discernment in what related to the belles lettres, and 
to a certain violence of temper, which could endure 
no one that did not bend to him ; or to his jealousy 
of Sir G. Elliot and Andrew Pringle, who were our 
zealous friends ; or his hatred of Lord ^lilton, who so 
warmly patronised John Home. It was amusing to 
observe, during the course of the summer, when 
Wilkie's Epigoniad appeared, how loud the retainers 
of the house of Arniston were in its praise, saying they 
knew how to distinguish between good and bad poetry; 
and now they had got something to commend. 

Cuming, Webster, and Hyndman, and a fiery man 
at Leith, whose name I forget, were the committee 
who drew up the libel. Webster, who had no bowels, 
and who could do mischief with the joy of an ape, 
suggested all the circumstances of aggravation, and 
was quite delighted when he got his colleagues of the 
committee to insert such circumstances as my eating 
and drinking with Sarah Ward, and taking my place 
in the playhouse by turning some gentlemen out of 
their seats, and committing a riot, &c.* 

• "The libel" is the name of the document or writ by which, in Scotland, 
a clergyman, charged by an ecclesiastical court with an oflFence, is brought 
before his accusers for trial and judgment. The term is taken from the 
Roman lihi>Ui accusatori'i. Of the libel against Carlyle, which is long, and 
well supplied with the usual technicalities, the following specimens will 
perhaps be considered sufficient : "On the eighth day of December, in the 
year seventeen hundred and fifty-six, or upon one or other of the days of 
November or October seventeen hundred and fifty-six, or upon one or other 
of the days of January seventeen himdred and fifty-seven years, he, the said 
Mr Alexander Carlyle, did, without necessity, keep company, familiarly 


At a very full meeting of my friends in Boyd's 
large room, in the Canongate, the night before the 
Synod met, I proposed Dr Dick, who had recently 
been admitted a minister in Edinburgh, for the Mo- 
derator's chair. I had prepared my friends before- 
hand for this proposal, and was induced to do it for 
several reasons. One was to exclude Robertson, 
whose speaking would be of more consequence if not 
in the chair. Another was to show my friend Dick 
to the rest, and to make them confidential with him, 
and to fix so able an assistant in our party. He was 
accordingly elected without opposition, and performed 
his duty with the utmost spirit and manhood ; for, 
besides preserving general good order, he, with un- 
common decision and readiness, severely rebuked 
Hyndman when he was very ofi'ensive. The lachite 

converse, and eat and drink with West Diggs (one of the actors on the un- 
licensed stage or theatre at the head of the Canongate of Edinburgh, com- 
monly called the Concert-hall), in the house of Henry Thomson, vintner in 
the Abbey, near to the Palace of Holyrood House, or in some other house 
or tavern within the city or suburlts of Edinburgh, or Canongate, or said 
Abbey, or Leith ; at least he, the said Mr Alexander Carlyle, did, without 
necessity, at the time or times, place or places above libelled, converse in a 
familiar manner with the said West Diggs, or with Miss Sarah Ward, an 
actress on the said theatre, or with some other of the persons who are in 
the course of acting plays in the said theatre— persons that do not reside in 
his parish, and who, by their profession, and in the eye of the law, are of 
bad fame, and who cannot obtain from any minister a testimonial of their 
moral character . . . and he, the said Mr Alexander Carlyle, did not 
only appear publicly in the said unlicensed theatre, but took possession 
of a box, or a place in one of the boxes, of the said house, in a disortlerly 
way, and turned some gentlemen out of it in a forcible manner, and did 
there witness the acting or representation of the foresaid tragedy called 
Douglas, when acted for hire or reward, in which the name of God was 
profaned or taken in vain by mock prayers and tremendous oaths or ex- 
pressions, such as — 'by the blood of the cross,' and 'the wounds of Him 
who died for \is on the accursed tree.' " — Ed. 


of Hyndmans mind, which was well known to Dick 
and me, made him submit to this rebuke from the 
chair, though, in reality, he was not out of order. 
What a pity it was that Robertson afterwards lost 
this man in the manner I shall afterwards mention ! 

It was remarked that there were only three of a 
majority in the Synod for the sentence which my 
friends had devised, assisted by the very good sense 
of Professor Robert Hamilton, and his intricate and 
embarrassed expression, which concealed while it pal- 
liated — and that two of those three were John Home, 
the author, and my father ; but neither of their votes 
could have been rejected, and the moderator's casting- 
vote would have been with us. 

My speech in my own defence in the Synod, which 
I drew up rather in the form of a remonstrance than 
an argument, leaving that to Robertson and my other 
friends, made a very good impression on the audience. 
John Dalrymple, junior of Cranstoun, was my advo- 
cate at the bar, and did justice to the cause he had 
voluntarily undertaken, which, while it served me 
effectually, gave him the first opportunity he had of 
displaying his talents before a popular assembly. 
Robertson's was a speech of great address, and had a 
good effect ; but none was better than that of Andrew 
Pringle, Esq., the Solicitor, who, I think, was the most 
eloquent of all the Scottish bar in my time. The 
Presbytery thought fit to appeal. When it came to 
the Assembly, the sentence of the Synod was ably 
defended, and as a proof that the heat and animosity 


raised against tlie tragedy of Douglas and its sup- 
porters was artificial and local, the sentence of the 
Synod was affirmed by 117 to 39. When it was 
over. Primrose, one of my warmest opposers, turned 
to me, and, shaking hands, " I wish you joy," said he, 
" of this sentence in your favour ; and if you hereafter 
choose to go to every play that is acted, I shall take 
no notice." 

Next day, on a proposal which was seconded by 
George Dempster, my firm friend, the Assembly passed 
an Act declaratory, forbidding the clergy to counten- 
ance the theatre. But Primrose w^as in the right, for 
manners are stronger than law^s ; and this Act, which 
was made on recent provocation, was the only Act of 
the Church of Scotland against the theatre — so was it 
totally neglected. Although the clergy in Edinburgh 
and its neighbourhood had abstained from the theatre 
because it gave ofi'ence, yet the more remote clergymen, 
when occasionally in town, had almost universally at- 
tended the playhouse ; and now that the subject had 
been solemnly discussed, and all men were convinced 
that the violent proceedings they had witnessed were 
the efi'ects of bigotry or jealousy, mixed with party- 
spirit and cabal, the more distant clergy returned to 
their usual amusement in the theatre when occasion- 
ally in town. It is remarkable, that in the year 1784, 
when the great actress Mrs Siddons first appeared in 
Edinburgh, during the sitting of the General Assembly, 
that court was obliged to fix all its important business 
for the alternate days w^hen she did not act, as all the 


younger members, clergy as well as laity, took their 
stations in the theatre on those days by three in the 
afternoon. Drs Robertson and Blair, though they 
both visited this great actress in private, often regret- 
ted to me that they had not seized the opportunity 
which was given them, by her superior talents and 
unexceptionable character, of going openly to the 
theatre, wliich would have put an end to all future 
animadversions on the subject. This conduct of 
theirs was keeping the reserv^e of their own imaginary 
importance to the last ; and their regretting it was 
very just, for by that time they got no credit for their 
abstinence, and the struo-orle between the liberal and 
the restrained and affected manners of the clergy had 
been long at an end, by my having finally stood my 
ground, and been so well supported by so great a 
majority in the Church. 

Of the many exertions I and my friends have made 
for the credit and interest of the clergy of the Church 
of Scotland, there was none more meritorious or of 
better effects than this. The laws of the Church were 
sufficiently strict to prevent persons of conduct really 
criminal from entering into it ; and it was of great 
importance to discriminate the artificial virtues and 
vices, formed by ignorance and superstition, from 
those that are real, lest the continuance of such a bar 
should have given check to the rising liberality of the 
young scholars, and prevented those of better birth 
or more ingenious minds from entering into the 


One of the chief actors in this farce suffered most 
for the duplicity of his conduct, for he who was at 
the head of the Moderate party, through jealousy or 
bad temper, having with some of his friends headed 
the party against the tragedy of Douglas, his fol- 
lowers in the Highlands and remoter parts, of the 
Moderate party, were so much offended with his 
hypocritical conduct, as they called it, that they left 
him ever after, and joined with those whom he had 
taken so much pains to disgrace, whilst he and the 
other old leaders themselves united with their former 

Mr Alexander Wedderburn, afterwards Lord Chan- 
cellor and Earl of Eoslyn, not having come down 
time enough to speak or vote in the cause (by design 
or not is more than I know), but appearing on the 
day after, took an opportunity to give Peter Cum- 
ing a very complete dressing. Peter was chaplain 
to Lord Grange for some years before he was settled 
at Kirknewton, and after my father at Lochmaben, 
from whence he was brought to Edinburgh. 

With respect to Webster, best known at that time 
by the designation of Dr Bonum Magnum, his Pro- 
teus-like character seldom lost by any transaction, 
and in this case he was only acting his natural part, 
which w^as that of runnino; down all indecencies in 
clergymen but those of the table, and doing mischief, 
like a monkey, for its own satisfaction. 

* Is was soon after this that the leadership of the Church i)asse(l from 
CiuninE' to Ko1>ertson. — Ed. 


One event was curious in the sequel. Mr John 
Home, who was the author of the tragedy, and of all 
the mischief consequent upon it — while his Presbytery 
of Haddino;ton had been from time to time obstructed 
in their designs by the good management of Stedman, 
Robertson, and Bannatine, and were now preparing 
in earnest to carry on a prosecution against him — on 
the 7th of June that year gave in a demission of his 
office, and withdrew from the Church, without the 
least animadversion on his conduct, which threw com- 
plete ridicule on the opposite party, and made the 
flame which had been raised against me, appear hypo- 
critical and odious to the last degree. 

Mr Home, after the great success of his tragedy of 
Douglas in Edinburgh, went to London early in 1757, 
and had his tragedy acted in Covent Garden (for 
Garrick, though now his friend, could not possibly let 
it be performed in his theatre after having pronounced 
it unfit for the stage), where it had great succe-ss. 
This tragedy still maintains its ground, has been more 
frequently acted, and is more popular, than any tragedy 
in the Eno-lish lano:uao:e. 

After John Home resigned his charge, he and Adam 
Ferguson retired to a lodging at Braid for three months 
to study, where they were very busy. During that 
time Mrs Kinloch of Gilmerton was brought to bed 
of her eighth child, and died immediately after. This 
was a very great loss to her family of five sons and 
three daughters, as her being withdrawn from the care 
of their education accounts better for the misconduct 


and misery of four of her sons, than the general belief 
of the country that the house of Gilmerton could never 
thrive after the injustice done to their eldest son by 
Sir Francis and his wife and their son David, who 
was involved in their guilt, and was made heir to 
the estate instead of his brother. These superstitious 
notions, however ill founded, may sometimes, perhaps, 
check the doing of atrocious deeds. Bat what shall 
we say when Sir Francis, who succeeded his father 
Sir David, survived him only a few days, though he 
was the most able, the most ingenious, the most 
worthy and virtuous young man of the whole county 
to which he belonged, and died by fratricide — a crime 
rare everywhere, and almost unknown in this country.* 
No greater misfortune can befall any family, when 
children are in their infancy, than the loss of a mother 
of good sense and dignity of manners. 

Home being very busy with some of his dramatic 
works, and not having leisure to attend Sir David in 
his affliction, which was sincere, applied to me to make 
an excursion with him into the north of England for a 
week or two to amuse him. I consented, and when I 
went to Gilmerton by concert, I found that the baronet 
had conjoined two other gentlemen to the party — my 
friend Mr Baron Grant, and Mr Montgomery, after- 
wards Chief-Baron and Sir James, who was my friend 
ever after. Those two gentlemen were on horseback, 

* Sir Archibald Kiulocli was brouglit to trial in 1795 for the murder of 
his elder brother Sii- Francis, whom he shot with a pistol in the family 
mansion of Gilmerton. The verdict of the jury sustained a plea of insanity. 
See State Trials, xxv. 891.— Ed. 


and Sir David and I in his post-chaise, a vehicle which 
had but recently been brought into Scotland, as our 
turnpike roads were but in their infancy. We went 
no farther than Sir John Hall's, at Dunglass, the first 
day; and as we pretended to be inquiring into the 
state of husbandry, we made very short journeys, 
turning aside to see anything curious in the mode of 
improvement of land that fell in our way, sometimes 
staying all night in inns, and sometimes in gentlemen's 
houses, as they fell in our way ; for Sir David was well 
known to many of the Northumbrians for his hospi- 
tality and skill in cattle. We went no farther than 
Newcastle and its environs, and returned after a fort- 
night's very agreeable amusement. On this expedition 
I made some very agreeable acquaintance, of which I 
afterwards availed myself, — Ealph Carr, an eminent 
merchant, still alive (August IS 04), and his brother- 
in-law Mr Withrington, styled " the honest attorney of 
the north," and his son John, an accomplished young 
man, who died a few years ago, and was the repre- 
sentative of the ancient family of that name. 

Some time this summer, after a convivial meetino-, 
Dr Wight and I were left alone for an hour or two 
with Alexander Wedderburn, who opened himself to 
us as much as he was capable of doing to anybody, 
and the impression he left corresponded with the cha- 
racter he had among his intimates. 

It was in the end of this year that I was introduced 
to Archibald, Duke of Argyle, who usually passed 
some days at Brunstane, Lord Milton's seat, as hp 


went to Inverary and returned. It was on his way 
back to London that I was sent for one Sunday morn- 
ing to come to Brunstane to dine that day with the 
Duke. That I could not do, as I had to do duty in 
my own church in the afternoon, and dinner in those 
days was at two o'clock. I went up in the evening, 
when the Duke was taking his nap, as usual, in an 
elbow-chair, with a black silk cap over his eyes. There 
was no company but Lord and Lady Milton, Mr 
Fletcher, and the young ladies, with William Alstone, 
who was a confidential and political secretary of 

After a little, I observed the Duke lift up his cap, 
and seeing a stranger in the room, he pulled it over 
his eyes again, and beckoned Miss Fletcher to him, 
who told him who I was. Li a little while he got 
up, and advancing to me, and taking me by the hand, 
said he " was glad to see me, but that, between sleeping 
and waking, he had taken me for his cousin, the Earl 
of Home, who I still think you resemble ; but that 
could not be, for I know that he is at Gibraltar." When 
we returned to our seats, Mally Fletcher whispered 
me that my bread was hahen, for that Lord Home 
was one of his greatest favourites. This I laughed at, 
for the old gentleman had said that as an apology for 
his having done what he might think not quite polite 
in calling Mally Fletcher to him, and not taking any 
notice of me for a minute or two afterwards. The 
good opinion of that family was enough to secure me 
a favourable reception at first, and I knew he would 


not Kke me worse for having stood a battle with, 
and beat, the Highflyers of our Church, whom he 
abhorred ; for he was not so accessible to Peter Cum- 
iDg as Lord Milton was, whom he tried to persuade 
that his having joined the other party was out of 
tenderness to me, for it was the intention of the 
Highflyers to depose me if he had not moderated their 
counsels. But I had a friend behind the curtain in 
his daughter. Miss Betty, whom he used to take out 
in the coach with him alone, to settle his mind when 
he was in any doubt or perplexity ; for, like all other 
ministers, he was surrounded with intrigue and deceit. 
Ferguson was, besides, now come into favour with him, 
for his dignified and sententious manner of talking 
had pleased him no less than John Home's pleasantry 
and unveiled flattery. Milton had a mind sufficiently 
acute to comprehend Ferguson's profound speculations, 
though his own forte did not lie in any kind of philo- 
sophy, but the knowledge of men, and the management 
of them, while Ferojuson was liis admirino; scholar in 
those articles. He had been much teased about the 
tragedy of Douglas, for Cuming had still access to 
him at certain hours by the political back-door from 
Gray's Close, and had alarmed him much ; especially 
immediately after the publication of my pamphlet. An 
Argument, &c., which had irritated the wild brethren 
so much, said Peter, that he could not answer for what 
mischief might follow. When he had been by such 
means kept in a very fretful humour, he came up into 
the drawing-room, where David Hume was, with John 


aucl Ferguson and myself; on David's saying some- 
thing, with his usual good-humour, to smooth his 
wrinkly brow, JNIilton turned to him with great asperity, 
and said that he had better hold his peace on the 
subject, for it was owing to him, and keeping company 
with him, that such a clamour was raised. David made 
no reply, but soon after took his hat and cane, and 
left the room, never more to enter the house, which 
he never did, though much pains was taken after- 
wards, for Milton soon repented, and David would 
have returned, but Betty Fletcher opposed it, rather 
foregoing his company at their house than suffer him 
to degrade himself — such was the generous spirit of 
that young lady. Had it not been for Ferguson and 
her, John Home and I would have been expelled also. 
Early in the year 1758 my favourite in the house of 
Brunstane changed her name, for on the 6th of Feb- 
ruary she was married to Captain John Wedderburn of 
Gosford, much to the satisfaction of Lord Milton and 
all her friends, as he was a man of superior character, 
had then a good fortune and the prospect of a better, 
which was fulfilled not long afterwards when he 
succeeded to the title and estate of Pitferran by the 
name of Sir John Halkett. As I was frequently at 
Brunstane about this time, I became the confidant of 
both the parties, and the bride was desirous to have 
me to tie the nuptial knot. But this failed through 
Lord Milton's love of order, which made him employ 
the parish minister, Bennet of Duddingston. This 
she wrote me with much regret on the morning of 


her marriage ; but added, that as on that day she 
would become mistress of a house of her own, she 
insisted that I should meet her there, and receive her 
when she entered the house of Gosford. 

About the end of February or beginning of March 
this year, I went to London with my eldest sister, 
Margaret, to get her married with Dr Dickson, M.D.* 
It is to be noted that we could get no four-wheeled 
chaise till we came to Durham, those conveyances 
being then only in their infancy, — the two- wheeled 
close chaise, which had been used for some time, and 
was called an Italian chaise, having been found very 
inconvenient. Turnpike roads were only in their 
commencement in the north. Dr Dickson, with a 
friend, met us at Stilton. We arrived safe at my 
aunt Lyon's in New Bond Street, she being then alive, 
as well as her sister, Mrs Paterson. To the proper 
celebration of the marriage there were three things 
wanting — a licence, a parson, and a best maid. In 
the last, the Honourable Miss Nelly Murray, Lord 
Elibank's sister, afterwards Lady Stewart, and still 
alive in September 1804, offered her services, which 
did us honour, and pleased my two aunts very much, 
especially Mrs Lyon, whose head was constantly 
swimming with vanity, which even her uncommon 
misfortune, after having fulfilled the utmost wish of 
ambition, had not cured. A licence was easily bought 
at Doctors' Commons, and Dr John Blair, afterwards 
a prebend of Westminster, my particular friend, was 

* See above, p. 206. 

332 LONDON. 

easily prevailed with to secure the use of a church 
and perform the ceremony. This business being put 
successfully over, and having seen my sister and her 
husband into lodgings in the city till their house was 
ready, I took up my abode at my aunts', and occa- 
sionally at John Home's lodging in Soutli Audley 
Street, which he had taken to be near Lord Bute, who 
had become his great friend and patron, having intro- 
duced him to the Prince of Wales, who had settled 
on him a pension of £100 per annum. 


1758: AGE, 36. 











Dr Robertson having come to London at tliis time 
to offer his History of Scotland for sale, where he had 
never been before, we went to see the lions together, 
and had for the most part the same acquaintance. 
Dr William Pitcairn, a very respectable physician in 
the city, and a great friend of Dr Dickson's, was a 
cousin of Dr Robertson's, whose mother was a Pit- 
cairn ; we became very intimate with him. Drs 
Armstrong and Orme were also of their society. Pit- 
cairn was a very handsome man, a little turned of 
fifty, of a very gentlemanly address. When he settled 
first in London he was patronised by an Alderman 
Behn, who, being a Jacobite, and not doubting that 
Pitcairn was of the same side, as he had travelled 
with Duke Hamilton, he set him up as a candidate 


for Bartholomew's Hospital. During the canvass 
the Alderman came to the Doctor, and asked him 
with impatient heat if it was true that he was the 
son of a Presbyterian minister in Scotland, which 
Pitcairn not being able to deny, the other conjured 
him to conceal that circumstance like murder, other- 
wise it would infallibly blow them up. He was 
elected physician to that hospital, and soon rose to 
great business in the city. 

Dr Pitcairn was a bachelor, and lived handsomely, 
but chiefly entertained young Scotch physicians who 
had no establishment. Of those, Drs Armstrong and 
Dickson were much with him. As our connections 
drew Robertson and me frequently to the city before 
my sister's house was ready, by earnest invitation we 
both took up our lodging at his house. We never 
saw our landlord in the morning, for he went to the 
hospital before eight o'clock ; but his housekeeper had 
orders to ask us at breakfast if we intended to dine 
there, and to tell us when her master was expected. 
The Doctor always returned from liis round of visits 
before three, which was his hour of dinner, and quite 
happy if he found us there. Exactly at five his 
chariot came to the door to carry him out on his 
afternoon visits. We sat as long as we liked at table, 
and drunk excellent claret. He returned soon after 
eight o'clock ; if he found his company still together, 
which was sometimes the case, he was highly pleased. 
He immediately entered into our humour, ate a bit 
of cold meat, drank a little wine, and went to bed 


before ten o'clock. This was a very uncommon strain 
of hospitality, which, I am glad to record, on repeated 
trials, never was exhausted. He lived on in the same 
manner till 1782, when he was past eighty; and 
when I was in London for the last time, he was then 
perfectly entire, and made his morning tour on foot. 
1 dined once with him at that period in his own 
house with a large company of ladies and gentlemen, 
and at Dr Hamilton's, his cousin, of St Martin's 
C'hurch, on both of which occasions he was remark- 
ably gay. He survived for a year or two longer. Dr 
David Pitcaim, the son of his brother the major, 
who was killed early in the American rebellion, was 
heir both of his fortune and professional merit. 

With Eobertson and Home in London I passed 
the time very agreeably ; for though Home was now 
entirely at the command of Lord Bute, whose nod 
made him break every engagement — for it was not 
given above an hour or two before dinner — yet as he 
was sometimes at hberty when the noble lord was to 
dine abroad, like a horse loosened from his stake, he 
was more sportful than usual We had Sir David 
Kiuloch likewise, who had come to consult physicians, 
and Dr Charles Congalton, who was his attendant. 
With them we met often at the British. Charles 
was my old companion, and a more naif and ingenu- 
ous soul never was born. I said to him one day, 
"Charlie, how do you like the English, now that 
you have seen them twice for two or three months V 
"I cannot answer your question," replied he, "for I 


am not acquainted with any of them." " What ! not 
acquainted ! " said I. " Yes," says he, " I have seen 
half-a-dozen of them calling on Sir David, but I never 
enter into conversation with the John Bulls, for, to 
tell you the truth, I don't yet well understand what 
they say." 

The first William Pitt had at this time risen to the 
zenith of his glory, when Robertson and I, after fre- 
quent attempts to hear him speak, when there was 
nothing passing in the House that called him, we at 
last heard a debate on the Habeas Corpus Act, which 
Pitt had new modelled in order to throw a slur on 
Lord Mansfield, who had taken some liberties, it was 
alleged, with that law, which made him unpopular. 
We accordingly took our places in the gallery, and for 
the first three hours were much disposed to sleep by 
the dull tedious speeches of two or three lawyers, till 
at last the Attorney-General, afterwards Lord Cam- 
den, rose and spoke with clearness, argument, and 
eloquence. He was answered ably by Mr York, 
Solicitor-General. Dr Hay, the King's Advocate in 
Doctors' Commons, spoke next, with a clearness, a 
force, and brevity, which pleased us much. At length 
Mr Pitt rose, and with that commanding eloquence 
in which he excelled, he spoke for half an hour, with 
an overpowering force of persuasion more than the 
clear conviction of argument. He was opposed by 
several speakers, to none of whom he vouchsafed to 
make an answ^er, but to James Oswald of Dunikier, 
who was a very able man, though not an eloquent 


speaker. With all our admiration of Pitt's eloquence, 
which was surely of the highest order, Eobertson and 
I felt the same sentiment, which was the desire to 
resist a tyrant, who, like a domineering schoolmaster, 
kept his boys in order by raising their fears without 
wasting argument upon them. This haughty manner 
is necessary, perhaps, in every leader of the House of 
Commons ; for when he is civil and condescending, 
he soon loses his authority, and is trampled upon. Is 
this common to all political assemblies 1 or is it only 
a part of the character of the English in all ordinary 
political affairs, till they are heated by faction or 
alarmed by danger, to yield to the statesman who is 
most assuminof 1 * 

Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto was at this time one of 
the Lords of the Admiralty, and we were frequently 
with him. He was a very accomphshed and sensible 
man, and John Home had not found him a cold friend, 
as he was supposed to be, for by his means chiefly he 
had been put under the protection of Lord Bute, a 
favour which John did not coldly return ; for, on the 
accession of the Prince of Wales, Home, who was then 
in full confidence with his lordship, recommended the 
baronet most effectually to him, — a clear proof of 
which I saw in a letter from Lord Bute to Home. 

Dr John Blair, who, on account of a certain petu- 
lant and wrangling humour, was disliked by many 
people, particularly by Smollett, in spite of Bob 

* James Oswald. See "Memorials of the PubEc Life and Character of 
the Right Hon. James Oswald," 8to, 1825.— Ed. 


Smith's intimacy with both, had been put about the 
Duke of York as his mathematical teacher, and was 
afterwards his secretary; he also had been recommended 
to that situation by Sir Gilbert EUiot through Home, 
and was not ungrateful. Blair was a good-natured 
pleasant fellow, and very agreeable to everybody who 
could bear his flippancy of speech. He was, indeed, 
one of the most friendly men in the world, as he 
showed in many instances, from, purchasing a pair of 
shoes and stockings for any of his old companions, to 
providing them a settlement for life. He got to be 
a prebendary in Westminster by the interest of the 
Duke of York ; and, had his Royal Highness lived, 
would have been promoted to the bench of bishops. He 
was senior to J. Home and me, but we were well ac- 
quainted at college. He died of the influenza in 1 782.* 
John Douglas, who has for some time been Bishop 
of Salisbury, and who is one of the most able and 
learned men on that bench, had at this time but 
small preferment. He had been tutor to Lord Pul- 
teney, and was at this tinie secretary to Lord Bath, 
and lived with him, by which means he had acquired 
a very exact knowledge of the Court, as well as of 
both Houses of Parliament, and all their connec- 
tions. I became acquainted with him at this time, and 
preserved my connection with him, which I valued 
much, by sundry "meetings and frequent correspond- 
ence. He is still living, though two years older than 
me, and much weakened by the gout. His sister, 

* See above, p. 186. 


Mrs Auderson, who at this time kept the British 
Coffeehouse, was, like her brother, a person of superior 

Eobertson had never seen Smollett, and was very- 
desirous of his acquaintance. By this time the Doc- 
tor had retired to Chelsea, and came seldom to towTi. 
Home and I, however, found that he came once 
a- week to Forrest's Coffeehouse, and sometimes dined 
there ; so we managed an appointment with him on 
his day, when he agreed to dine with us. He was 
now become a great man, and being much of a hu- 
morist, was not to be put out of his way. Home and 
Eobertson and Smith and I met him there, when he 
had several of his minions about him, to whom he 
prescribed tasks of translation, compilation, or abridg- 
ment, which, after he had seen, he recommended to 
the booksellers. We dined together, and Smollett 
was very brilliant. Ha^dng to stay all night, that 
we might spend the evening together, he only begged 
leave to withdraw for an hour, that he might give 
audience to his myrmidons ; we insisted that, if his 
business [permitted], it should be in the room 
where we sat. The Doctor agreed, and the authors 
were introduced, to the number of five, I think, most 
of w^hom were soon dismissed. He kept two, how- 
ever, to supper, whispering to us that he believed 
they would amuse us, which they certainly did, for 
they were curious characters. 

We passed a very pleasant and joyful evening. 
When we broke up, Robertson expressed great sur- 


prise at the polislied and agreeable manners and the 
great urbanity of his conversation. He had imagined 
that a man's manners must bear a likeness to his 
books, and as Smollett had described so well the 
characters of ruffians and profligates, that he must, 
of course, resemble them. This was not the first in- 
stance we had of the rawness, in respect of the world, 
that still blunted our sagacious friend's observations. 

As Ferguson had one day in the week when he could 
be in town, we established a club at a coffeehouse in 
Saville Row or Sackville Street, where we could meet 
him at dinner, which we did every Wednesday at three 
o'clock. There were J. Home, and Eobertson, and 
Wedderburn, and Jack Dalrymple, and Bob Adam, 
Ferguson, and myself. Wedderburn brought with 
him an attorney of the name of Dagg, a little odd- 
looking silent fellow to be sure, whom none of us had 
ever seen before, and about whom Wedderburn had 
not condescended to explain himself. Somebody was 
appointed to talk to him, and to express the uneasi- 
ness of the club at his bringing an utter stranger 
among them. His answer was, that Dagg was a very 
important friend of his, who was extremely desirous 
to meet that company, and that he would answer for 
his silence and discretion. He added that he prayed 
the club to admit him, for he learned more from him of 
the forms of English law, in his walk from and return 
to the Temple, than he could do by a week's reading. 
This excuse was admitted, though some of us thought 
it a lame one, and that it smelt of an assumed 


superiority that we did not admit of. As Ferguson 
rode back to Harrow, we always parted between five 
and six o'clock ; and it will hardly be now believed 
that our reckoning never exceeded 5s. a-piece. We 
had a very good dinner, and plenty of punch, &c., 
though no claret, for that sum. 

Having met, we generally went that night to Drury 
Lane Theatre, Garrick being in town. I had frequent 
opportunities of being in company with this cele- 
brated actor, of whom Mr Home was now in full pos- 
session, though he had rejected his tragedy of Douglas 
as totally unfit for the stage. I am afraid it was not 
his own more mature judgment that brought him 
round, but his idolatry to the rising sun, for he had 
observed what a hold Home had got of Lord Bute, 
and, by his means, of the Prince of Wales. As Gar- 
rick's vanity and interestedness had made him digest 
the mortification of seeing Douglas already become 
the most popular play on the stage, so John Home's 
facility, and the hopes of getting him to play in his 
future tragedies, made him forgive Garrick's former 
want of taste and judgment, and they were now be- 
come the greatest friends in the world. If anything 
had been wanting to complete Garrick's conquest of 
Home, it was making choice of him as his second in 
a quarrel he had with Calcraft (for John was very 
heroic), which never came to a duel, as well as several 
other quarrels of the same kind, and with the same 
issue, in which John was chosen second. 

Garrick, though not of an understanding of tlie 


first, nor of the highest cultivated mind, had great 
vivacity and quickness, and was very entertaining 
company. Though vanity was his prominent feature, 
and a troublesome and watchful jealousy the constant 
visible guard of his reputation to a ridiculous degree, 
yet his desire to oblige, his want of arrogance, and 
the delicacy of his mimicry, made him very agreeable. 
He had no afi'ected reserve, but, on the least hint, 
would start up at any time and give the company one 
of his best speeches. As Garrick had been in Dublin 
when I was in London in 1746, I assiduously at- 
tended him at this time, and saw him in all his prin- 
cipal parts, both in tragedy and comedy. He used 
to say himself, that he was more at home in comedy 
than in tragedy, and I was of his opinion. I thought 
I could conceive something more perfect in tragedy, 
but in comedy he completely filled up my ideas of 
perfection. There may be a deception in this, for 
every well-educated person has formed to himself 
some idea of the characters, both in ancient and 
modern tragedy, and if the actor falls short of that, 
he is thought to be deficient in judgment : whereas 
comedy being an imitation of living manners, as they 
rise in succession among inferior orders of men, the 
spectator can have formed no rule or standard of judg- 
ment previous to the representation, but must accept 
of the picture the actor gives him, and must approve 
of it, if it is lively, though it should not be true. 

Garrick was so friendly to John Home that he 
gave a dinner to his friends and companions at his 


Iiouse at Hampton, whicli he did but seldom. He 
had told us to bring golf clubs and balls that we 
might play at that game on Molesly Hurst. We 
accordingly set out in good time, six of us in a lan- 
dau. As we passed through Kensington, the Cold- 
stream regiment were changing guard, and, on seeing 
our clubs, they gave us three cheers in honour of a 
diversion peculiar to Scotland ; so much does the 
remembrance of one's native country dilate the heart, 
when one has been some time absent. The same 
sentiment made us open our purses, and give our 
countrymen wherewithal to drink the "Land o' Cakes." 
Garrick met us by the way, so impatient he seemed 
to be for his company. There were John Home, and 
Robertson, and Wedderbum, and Eobert and James 
Adam, and Colonel David Wedderbum, who was 
killed when commander of the army in Bombay, in 
the year [1773]. He was held by his companions to 
be in every respect as clever and able a man as his 
elder brother the Chancellor, with a much more gay, 
popular, and social temper. 

Immediately after we arrived, we crossed the river 
to the golfing-ground, which was very good. None of 
the company could play but John Home and myself, 
and Parson Black from Aberdeen, who, being chaplain 
to a regiment during some of the Duke of Cumberland's 
campaigns, had been pointed out to his Royal Highness 
as a proper person to teach him the game of chess : the 
Duke was such an apt scholar that he never lost a 
game after the first day ; and he recompensed Black 


for having beat him so cruelly, by procuring for him 
the living of Hampton, which is a good one. We re- 
turned and dined sumptuously, Mrs Garrick, the only 
lady, now grown fat, though still very lively, being a 
woman of uncommon good sense, and now mistress of 
English, was in all respects most agreeably company. 
She did not seem at all to recognise me, which was 
no wonder, at the end of twelve years, having thrown 
away my bag-wig and sword, and appearing in my 
own grisly hairs, and in parson's clothes ; nor was I 
likely to remind her of her former state.* 

Garrick had built a handsome temple, with a 
statue of Shakespeare in it, in his lower garden, on the 
banks of the Thames, which was separated from the 
upper one by a high-road, under which there was an 
archway which united the two gardens. Garrick, in 
compliment to Home, had ordered the wine to be 
carried to this temple, where we were to drink it 
under the shade of the copy of that statue to which 
Home had addressed his pathetic verses on the rejec- 
tion of his play. The poet and the actor were equally 
gay, and well pleased with each other, on this occa- 
sion, with much respect qu the one hand, and a total 
oblivion of animosity on the other ; for vanity is a 
passion that is easy to be entreated, and unites freely 
with all the best affections. Having observed a green 
mount in the garden, opposite the archway, I said to 
our landlord, that while the servants were preparing 
the collation in the temple I would surprise him with 

* See above, p. 184. 


a stroke at the golf, as I should drive a ball through 
his archway into the Thames once in three strokes. 
I had measured the distance with my eye in walking 
about the garden, and accordingly, at the second 
stroke, made the ball alight in the mouth of the gate- 
way, and roll down the green slope into the river. 
This was so dexterous that he was quite surprised, 
and begged the club of me by which such a feat had 
been performed. We passed a very agreeable after- 
noon ; and it is hard to say which were happier, the 
landlord and landlady, or the guests. 

There was a club in London where Eobertson and 
I never failed to attend, as we were adopted members 
while we stayed in town. It was held once a-week 
in the British Coffeehouse, at eight in the evening ; 
the members were Scotch physicians from the city 
and Court end of the town. Of the first set were 
Pitcaim, Armstrong, Orme, and Dickson ; of the 
second were William Hunter, Clephan, Mr Graham 
of Pall Mall, &c. — all of them very agreeable men ; 
Clephan especially was one of the most sensible, 
learned, and judicious men I ever knew — an admir- 
able classical scholar and a fine historian. He often 
led the conversation, but it was with an air of mo- 
desty and deference to the company, which added to 
the weight of all he said. Hunter was gay and lively 
to the last degree, and often came in to us at nine 
o'clock fatigued and jaded. He had had no dinner, 
but supped on a couple of eggs, and drank his glass 
of claret ; for though we were a punch club, we 


allowed him a bottle of what lie liked best. He 
repaid us with the brilliancy of his conversation. 
His toast was, " May no English nobleman venture 
out of the world without a Scottish physician, as I 
am sure there are none who venture in." He was 
a famous lecturer on anatomy. Robertson and I 
expressed a wish to be admitted one day. He 
appointed us a day, and gave us one of the most 
elegant, clear, and brilliant lectures on the eye that 
any of us had ever heard. One instance I must set 
down of the fallacy of medical prediction — it was 
this : Dr Hunter, by his attendance on Lady Esther 
Pitt, had frequent opportunities of seeing the great 
orator when he was ill of the gout, and thought so 
ill of his constitution that he said more than once to 
us, with deep regret, that he did not think the great 
man's life worth two years' purchase ; and yet Mr Pitt 
lived for twenty years, for he did not give way to 
fate till 1778. 

As soon as my sister got into her house in a court 
in Aldermansbury, Dr Dickson and she gave a dinner 
to my friends, with two or three of his. There were 
Doctors Pitcairn, Armstrong, Smollett, and Orme, 
together with Dr Robertson, John Blair, Home, and 
myself. We passed an exceedingly pleasant day, 
although Smollett had given Armstrong a staggering 
blow at the beginning of dinner, by asking him some 
questions about his nose, which was still patched, on 
account of his having run it through the side-glass of 
his chariot when somebody came up to speak to him. 


Armstrong was naturally glumpy, and tbis, I was 
afraid, would have silenced him all day, which it 
might, had not Smollett called him familiarly John 
soon after his joke on his nose ; but he knew that 
Smollett loved and respected him, and soon recovered 
his good-humour, and became brilliant. My sister, 
who had one lady with her — one of Pitcairn's nieces, I 
believe — was happy and agreeable, and highly pleasing 
to her guests, who confessed they had seldom seen 
such a superior woman. 

There was a friend of Dickson's, a Mr Jackson, a 
Dumfries man and an Irish factor, as they are called, 
who was a great humorist, who, though he had no 
carriage, kept six hunting-horses. This man offered to 
moimt us on his horses, and go with us to "Windsor. 
After a breakfast-dinner at his partner's, we set out 
on the 16 th day of April, the warmest that had been 
that season. As the great road was very disagreeable, 
Jackson, who knew the environs of London better than 
most people, as he belonged to a hunt, took us through 
green lanes as soon as he could, and, gi^'ing us a little, 
wine and water when he pleased, which was, he said, 
whenever he came to good port, he landed us at 
Staines Bridge, in a very good inn across the bridge. 
His servant, who rode an unruly horse, had been thrown 
from him half an hour before we reached Staines. 
He was very much hurt about the head, and with 
difficulty we brought him along at a slow pace. 
When we arrived, Jackson sent immediately for the 
nearest surgeon, who was a Mr Green. This man ex- 


amined the servant, and found he was not dangerously- 
hurt, and Jackson invited him to stay supper, which 
he did, and turned out a very sensible conversible man. 
He spoke English so well that we could not have 
detected him to be a Scotchman, far less an Aber- 
deensman, which he was ; but he had gone very young 
into the navy as surgeon's-mate, and had entirely lost 
his mother tongue — almost the only instance I ever 
knew of any one from that shire. There was a poor 
Scotch Presbyterian, who had a very small living ; 
Jackson had a small present of two guineas to give 
him, for the humorist was not ungenerous. He sent 
for him in the morning, and promised him a sermon 
in his meeting-house, for it was Sunday, and kept him 
to breakfast. I had been prepared to do this duty, 
for Jackson and I slept in the same room, and he had 
requested it as a favour, as he said the meeting and 
the audience were very poor indeed. I was dressed, 
and went down to breakfast, and was introduced to 
Mr Coldstream. Soon afterwards came Robertson, 
undressed, and with his night-cap on, and, being in- 
troduced to Coldstream, took no further notice of him 
(not his usual manner), and breakfasted in silence. 
When the minister took his leave, he called Jackson 
aside, and said he hoped he remembered he never em- 
ployed any of the people called Methodists. This was 
resolute in a man who had a wife and four children, 
and only £20 a-year, to a gentleman who had just made 
him a present of two guineas. Jackson assured him 
that none of us were Methodists, but that I was the 


person lie had engaged to preach. I made Robertson's 
being taken for a Methodist a lasting joke against him. 
We went to the meeting-house at the hour of eleven, 
the entry to which was over a pretty large dunghill. 
Although the congregation was reinforced by two 
officers of the Grey dragoons, and by a corporal and 
an officer's man, with Jackson's man with his head 
bound up, with the Doctor and Jackson and Coldstream 
and his wife, they amounted only to twenty-three. 
There were two brothers, Scotchmen, clothiers, who 
were there, who invited us to dinner. We repaired to 
them at one o'clock, and after vralking round their 
garden, and being much delighted with two swans 
swimming in the Thames, whom they had attached to 
them by kindness, we sat down to an excellent citi- 
zen-like dinner, and drank some excellent port-wine. 
Robertson and I bespoke a piece of parson's grey cloth 
of their making, which they sent to Scotland before 
us, and which turned out the best we ever had. We 
divided it among our friends. Before five o'clock we 
mounted our horses by order of our conductor, and 
rode to Windsor Forest, where, in spite of the warm 
weather before, we found the frost hard enough to 
bear our horses. We returned without going into 
Windsor. Next day we went there time enough to 
see the castle and all its curiosities, and to go down to 
Eton, after which we dined at an inn and rode back 
to Staines, making a circuit round the great park. 
Much to our satisfaction, we found Dr Green waitinor 
us, whom Jackson had appointed to meet us. 


Jackson wished us to take a circuitous ride and see 
everything down the Thames to London ; but as we 
were engaged with a party of friends to dine at Bil- 
lingsgate on fish of the season, we took leave of Mr 
Jackson, and left him to come at his leisure, while we 
made the best of our way down the Thames, and 
halted only at Eichmond, where Robertson had never 

We arrived in time to meet our friends at the Gun, 
where Dr Dickson had provided a choice dinner of all 
the varieties of fish then in season, at the moderate 
price of twenty-five shillings, one crown of which was 
paid for smelts. We were a company of fifteen or 
sixteen, whose names I can't exactly remember, but 
when I say that there were Sir David Kinloch, James 
Veitch (EUiock), Sir Robert Keith, then only a captain 
in the Scotch Dutch, Robertson, Home, &c., I need not 
say that we were gay and jovial. An incident con- 
tributed not a little to our mirth. Charles Congalton, 
who happened to sit next to Sir David, our preses, 
it was observed, never filled above a thimbleful in 
his glass, when being asked the reason, he said he could 
not drink any of their London port, there was such a 
drawing-togetherness in it. " Ring the bell, Charlie," 
said our preses, " and we will learn if we can't get a 
bottle of claret for you." The bell was rung, the claret 
came, and was pronounced very good by the Baronet 
and his doctor. The whole company soon joined in 
that liquor, without which no Scotch gentleman in 
those days could be exhilarated. Bob Keith sung all 


his ludicrous songs, and repeated all his comic verses, 
and gave us a foretaste of that delightful company 
which he continued to be to the end of his days. His 
cousin, Charles Dalrymple, was only behind him in 
humorous description and naive remark — as much 
only as he was in age and the habits of company. 
Our reckoning by this means, however, turned out, 
instead of five shillings and sixpence, as Dickson had 
supposed, to be three times that sum. The Baronet 
and Doctor were to set out in a few days to France, 
on their way to Barege. 

I shall here mention an anecdote which struck me 
as a proof of the wonderful carelessness of physicians. 
Supping one night with Duncan Forbes, Sir David, 
Lord Elliock, and sundry physicians, while four of us 
were playing at whist. Lord Elliock took up a book, 
and after reading a while called out, " Sir David, here 
is your case, and a perfect cure for it, that I find in 
this book." He then read an account of the great 
effect of the waters of Barege, in the south of France, 
for such complaints as the Baronet laboured under. 
" Have you heard of this before. Sir David 1 " " No, 
never," answered he. "Is it new to the Faculty 1" 
said he to Armstrong, who was sitting near him. 
" No," replied the crusty Doctor, " but we never 
thought of prescribing it, as we knew that he was 
such a coward that he would rather be damned by a 
fistula than cross the Channel in a packet-boat, especi- 
ally in time of a French war." Sir David, having 
his pride irritated by this attack, did go to Barege, 


and completed a cure which had been made by Dr 

As I had been introduced to the Duke of Argyle in 
the autumn before in Scotland, I went sometimes to 
his evening parties, which were very pleasant. He 
let in certain friends every night about seven o'clock, 
when, after tea and coffee, there were parties at six- 
penny whist, his Grace never playing higher. About 
nine there was a sideboard of cold victuals and wine, 
to which everybody resorted in his turn. There was 
seldom or ever any drinking — never, indeed, but when 
some of his favourite young men came in, such as 
Alexander Lord Eglinton, William Lord Home, &c., 
when the old gentleman would rouse himself and call 
for burgundy and champagne, and prolong the feast 
to a late hour. In general the company parted at 
eleven. There could not be a more rational way of 
passing the evening, for the Duke had a wide range 
of knowledge, and was very open and communicative. 

The Right Honourable Charles Townshend, my old 
friend, had married Lady Dalkeith, the Duke of Buc- 
cleuch's mother. Home, who was become intimate 
with him, took me there one morning, after having 
told him I was in town, and intended to call. He 
received me with open arms, and was perfectly fami- 
liar, but not a hint of having seen me before. He 
held the same demeanour to Jack Campbell, Lord 
Stonefield, who had married one of Lord Bute's sisters; 
and in spite of our intimacy afterwards in Scotland, 
he never made the most distant allusion to anything 


that had happened at Leyden. The Duke of Biic- 
cleuch, and his brother Campbell Scott, were in town 
for the Easter holidays. Mr Scott was much hand- 
somer and more forward than the Duke, who was at 
a table in the room where there were some books. 
The young Duke, then not twelve years of age, was 
turning over the leaves of a book. " Come along, 
Duke," says Charles — " I see what you would be at, 
silent as you are ; show the gentlemen that dedication 
you are so fond of." The Duke slipt down the book 
on the table, and blushed to the eyes, retiring a step 
or two from it. I took up the book, and soon saw it 
was Barclay the schoolmaster's Latin Grammar, which 
he had dedicated to his patron. " The Duke," says I, 
"need not be ashamed of this dedication, for the 
author of it is one of the best schoolmasters and 
grammarians of any in Scotland, and has brought the 
school at Dalkeith to its former name and lustre." 
This reassured the young man, and he smiled with 
some satisfaction. Little did I think at that time 
that I shoidd live to see his grace the most respected 
and the most deservedly popular of any nobleman in 
Scotland. A few days after this we dined with Mr 
Townshend and the Countess, and one or two gentle- 
men, but the boys had returned to school. 

The clergy of Scotland, being under apprehensions 
that the window-tax would be extended to them, had 
given me in charge to state our case to some of the minis- 
ters, and try to make an impression in our favour. Sir 
Gilbert Elliot listened to me, and was friendly ; March- 



mont pretended not to understand ray statement, and 
was dry. But the only man who really understood 
the business, and seemed ready to enter into it with 
zeal, was Jeremiah Dyson, who, having been a Dis- 
senter, and two years at the University of Edinburgh, 
and withal very acute, perfectly comprehended my 
argument, and was willing to assist in procuring an 
exemption. Without Robert Dundas, then Lord Ad- 
vocate, nothing, however, could be done. I waited on 
him, and was received in his usual way, with frankness 
and familiarity enough ; but he did not think he could 
do anything, but deferred saying much about it till 
some future day, when he would have some friends with 
me to dinner, and talk over the affair. This cold or 
rather haughty reception, added to some very slight- 
ing or calumnious sayings of his, both about Robert- 
son and me, provoked us not a little, and revived the 
resentment we felt at his unhandsome behaviour about 
the tragedy of Douglas. 

Our time drew near for returning, which we were 
to do on horseback, and with that we set about fur- 
nishing ourselves with horses. Home had his Piercy 
in town, and James Adam (who was to be our com- 
panion) had one also, so that Robertson and I only 
were to be provided, which we did without loss of 
time. We had some inclination to be introduced 
to Lord Bute, which John promised to do ; and for 
Robert Adam also, who could derive more benefit from 
it than any of us. Robert had been three years in 
Italy, and, wnth a first-rate genius for his profession. 


had seen and studied everything, and was in the high- 
est esteem anions foreiorn artists. From the time of 
his return — viz. in February or March 1758 — may be 
dated a very remarkable improvement in building and 
furniture, and even stoneware, in London and every 
part of England.* As John put off the time of our 
introduction to his great man, we yielded to a request 
of our friend Sir David Kinloch to accompany him on 
a jaunt he wished to make to Portsmouth. Home had 
signified his design to Lord Bute, who had agreed to 
his absence for a few days ; and having obtained a 
letter from Sir Gilbert Elliot, then a Lord of the Ad- 
miralty, to Lieutenant Brett, clerk of the cheque at 
Portsmouth, we set out, the Baronet and his doctor 
in a chaise, and we three on horseback. As it was 
towards the end of April, and the weather good, we 
had a very agreeable journey. We were much pleased 
with the diversified beauty of the country, though not 
a little surprised with the great extent of uncultivated 
heath which we went through. We viewed with much 
pleasure and exultation the solid foundation of the 
naval glory of Great Britain, in the amazing extent 
and richness of the dockyards and warehouses, &c., and 
in the grandeur of her tieet in the harbour and in the 
Downs. It appeared a new world to us, and our 
wonder had not ceased during all the four days we 
remained there. We had good mutton and good wine 

* It is scarcely necessary to say that the two Aclams, so often referred to, 
were the architects of the many public and private buildings, of some of 
whicli an account will be found in their work, called 77*e Worts in ArchUtc- 
tnre of Robert and James Adam. — Ed. 


(claret) at the inn, and, above all, an additional com- 
panion, Mr Richard Oswald (he who had so much 
hand in the peace of Paris long after), who was a man 
of great knowledge and ready conversation. There 
was a fine fleet of ten ships of the line in the Downs, 
with the Royal George at their head, all ready for sea, 
and one of our great objects was to get on board that 
ship, which was always kept in the highest order for 
the admittance of ^visitors. This short voyage was 
proposed every night, but was put ofl" daily, as a land- 
wind came on soon after breakfast. As we were only 
to stay one day longer, Congalton and 1 in despair 
went in the evening to Lieutenant Brett and stated 
our case to him. He said there was but one remedy, 
which was for him to ask Sir David and us all to 
breakfast next morning at eight ; that his dockyard 
sloop, in which he could sail to America, should be at 
hand and ready at nine, and that we might get to the 
Royal George, not above three miles off, before the 
mackerel breeze sprung up. 

This plan was accordingly put in execution, but it 
being half-past nine before we got on board, the breeze 
got up before we reached the fleet ; and the moment it 
arose, fear and sickness began to operate on our friends, 
their countenances grew pale, and the poet grew very 
vociferous for our immediate return. Our pilot, how- 
ever, held on his course, and assured them that there 
was not the smallest danger, and that the moment 
they set their feet in the Royal George, their sickness 
would leave them. Congalton and I were quite dis- 


concerted, and did not know what to do. Brett con- 
tinued to assert that we might board with the greatest 
•ease, and without the least danger ; but as we ap- 
proached the ship their fears became so noisy and so 
unmanly that Brett yielded, and said it would be 
better to sail round the ship and return, lest the breeze 
should increase. Dr Congalton and I were much dis- 
appointed, as this was probably the only opportunity 
we should have of seeing so tine a ship again. 

We behoved to yield, however, and, what was re- 
markable, the moment we set our heads towards land 
their sickness entirely abated, and they got into spi- 
rits — Eobertson was the only one of them who had 
thrown up his breakfast. When we arrived near the 
harbour, we overtook the Ramilies, a ninety-gun ship, 
just entering the port. Mr Brett proposed that we 
should go on board her, when we should see her rigging 
completely manned, a sight that in some degree would 
compensate our not seeing the Royal George. Our 
friends were delighted with this proposal, and John 
Home exulted provokingly on the superiority of the 
sight we were so fortunately going to have. We had 
no sooner set foot on the deck than an officer came up 
to us, bawling, "God preserv^e us! what has brought the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh here 1 for, damn me, if there 
is not Willy Robertson, Sandie Carlyle, and John Home 
come on board." This turned out to be a Lieutenant 
Neilson, a cousin of Robertson, who knew us all, who 
gave us a hearty welcome, and carried us to his cabin, 
and treated us to white wine and salt beef. 


The remainder of this day we passed in seeing what 
we had omitted, particularly the Point after it was dark, 
or rather towards midnight — a scene of wonder, and • 
even horror, to the civilised. Next day we took our 
departure, and sleeping a night by the way, as we had 
done going down, we arrived in London, and prepared 
in good earnest to set out on our journey north. The 
day was at last appointed for our being introduced to 
the great man, and we resolved among ourselves, that if 
he gave us an invitation to dine with him on an early 
day, we would stay for it, though contrary to our plan. 

John Home's tragedy of Agis had been acted this 
season with tolerably good success, for it ran the nine 
nights, and the author made some hundreds by it. Gar- 
rick had acted the part of Lysander, as he did a year 
or two later that of Emilius in the Siege of Aquileia, 
which I think superior in merit to Agis. I had under- 
taken to review this play for the British Magazine 
(Smollett's), but had been indolent ; and it now cost 
me to sit up all night to write it, and I was obliged to 
give it to the press blotted and interlined, — but they 
are accustomed to decypher the most difficult hands. 

The day came when we were presented to Lord 
Bute, but our reception was so dry and cold that 
when he asked when we were to go north, one of us 
said to-morrow. He received us booted and spurred, 
which in those days was a certain signal for going 
a-riding, and an apology for not desiring us to sit 
down. We very soon took our leave, and no sooner 
w^ere we out of hearing, than Robert Adam, who was 


with us, fell a-cursino; and swearinoj. " AVhat ! had he 
been presented to all the princes in Italy and France, 
and most graciously received, to come and be treated 
with such distance and pride by the youngest earl 
but one in all Scotland V They were better friends 
afterwards, and Robert found him a kind patron, 
when his professional merit was made known to him. 
^Vhen I was riding with Home in Hyde Park a week 
before, tr}'ing the horse I bought, we met his lordship, 
to whom Home then introduced me, and we rode to- 
gether for half an hour, when I had a very agreeable 
chat with his lordship ; but he was a different man 
when he received audience. To dismiss the subject, 
however, I believe he was a very worthy and virtuous 
man — a man of taste, and a good belles-lettres scholar, 
and that he trained up the prince in true patriotic 
principles and a love of the constitution, though his 
own mind was of the Tory cast, with a partiality to 
the family of Stuart, of whom he believed he was 
descended. But he proved himself unfit for the sta- 
tion he had assumed, being not versatile enough for 
a prime minister ; and, though personally brave, yet 
void of that political firmness which is necessary to 
stand the storms of state. The nobility and gentry 
of England had paid court to him with such abject 
sers'ility when the accession of his pupil drew near, 
and immediately after it took place, that it was no 
wonder he should behave to them with haughtiness 
and disdain, and with a spirit of domination. As soon, 
however, as he was tried and known, and the disap- 


pointed hopes of the courtiers had restored them to 
the exercise of their manhood, he showed a wavering 
and uncertain disposition, which discovered to them 
that he could be overthrown. The misfortune of great 
men in such circumstances is, that they have few or 
no personal friends on whose counsels they can rely. 
There were two such about him, who enjoyed his con- 
fidence and favour, Sir Harry Erskine and John Home. 
The first, I believe, was a truly honest man, but his 
views were not extensive nor his talents great ; the 
second had better talents, but they were not at all 
adapted to business. Besides ambition and pride to 
a high degree, Lord Bute had an insatiable vanity, 
which nothing could allay but Home's incessant flat- 
tery, which being ardent and sincere, and blind and 
incessant, like that of a passionate lover, pleased the 
jealous and supercilious mind of the Thane. He knew 
John to be a man of honour and' his friend, and 
though his discernment pointed out the excess of 
John's praises, yet his ardour and sincerity made it 
all take place on a temper and character made acces- 
sible by vanity. With respect to John himself, his 
mind and manners had always been the same. He 
flattered Lord Milton, and even Adam Ferguson and 
me, as much as he did Lord Bute in the zenith of his 
power. What demonstrates the artlessness and purity 
of John's mind was, that he never asked anything for 
himself, though he had the undisputed ear of the Prime 
Minister. Even those who envied John for the place 
of favour he held, exclaimed against the chief for doing 


SO little for the man of bis right hand ; and John 
might have starved on a scanty pension (for he was 
required to be in attendance in London for more than 
half the year), bad not Ferguson and I taken advan- 
tage of a vacancy of an office in Scotland, and pressed 
Lord Milton to procure the Lord Consei-vator's place 
for him, which more than doubled his income.* But 
though Home was careless of himself, he was warm 
and active at all times for the interest of his friends, 
and served a greater number of people eft'ectually than 
it had been in the power of any private man to do 
before, some few of whom proved themselves not 
worthy of his friendship. 

AYe now were to leave London, and made all suit- 
able preparations ; and finding that there was a horse 
at Donaldson's, at the Orange Tree Inn, which the 
owner wished to have down to Edinburgh, we under- 
took to take him with us, and hired a man to ride him 
and carry our baggage. As there were four of us, we 
found one servant too few, to our great inconveniency. 
As the Adams were a wonderfully loving family, and 
their youngest brother James was going down witli 
us, the rest of the sisters and brothers would accom- 
pany us as far as Uxbridge (a very needless ceremony, 
some of us thought) ; but since we were to be so 
numerous, my sister thought of joining the party. 
We passed a very cheerful evening in spite of the 
melancholy parting we had in view. We parted, 

* The then sinecure office of Conser\'ator of Scots Privileges at Camp- 
vere. — Ed. 


however, next morning, and we made the best of our 
way to Oxford, halting for an hour at Bulstrode, a 
seat of the Duke of Portland's, where we viewed the 
park, the house, and the chapel, which pleased us 
much, especially the last, which was ornamented in 
^true taste as a place of worship. The chapel, which 
is still met with in many noblemen's houses in Eng- 
land, was a mark of the residence of a great family, 
which was striking and agreeable. It was here that 
we discovered the truth of what I had often heard, 
that most of the head-gardeners of English noblemen 
were Scotch, for on observing to this man that his 
pease seemed late on the 4th of May, not being then 
fully in bloom, and that I was certain there were 
sundry places which I knew in Scotland where they 
were further advanced, he answered that he was 
bred in a place that I perhaps did not know that 
answered this description. This was Newhaills, in 
my own parish of Inveresk. This man, whose name 
I have forgot, if it was not Robertson, was not only 
gardener but land-steward, and had the charge of the 
whole park and of the estate around it ; — such advan- 
tage was there in having been taught writing, arith- 
metic, and the mensuration of land, the rudiments of 
which were taught in many of the country schools of 
Scotland. This man gave us a note to the gardener 
at Blenheim, who, he told us, was our countryman, 
and would furnish us with notes to the head-gardeners 
all the way down. 

We arrived at Oxford before dinner, and put up at 


the ADgel Inn. Eobertsoii and Adam, who had never 
been there before, had everything to see : Home and 
I had been there before. John Douglas, who knew 
we were coming, was passing trials for his degree of 
D.D., and that very day was in the act of one of his 
wall-lectures, as they are called, for there is no audi- 
ence. At that university, it seems, the trial is strict 
when one takes a Masters or Bachelor's, but slack 
when you come to the Doctor's Degree ; and vice 
versa at Cambridge. However that be, we found 
Douglas sitting in a pulpit, in one of their chapels, 
with not a soul to hear him but three old beggar- 
women, who came to try if they might get some 
charity. On seeing us four enter the chapel, he talk- 
ed to us and wished us away, otherwise he would be 
obliojed to lecture. We would not cro awav, we an- 
swered, as we wished a specimen of Oxford learning ; 
on which he read two or three verses out of the Greek 
Testament, and began to expound it in Latin. We 
listened for five minutes, and then, tellinof where we 
were to dine, we left him to walk about. Douglas 
came to dinner: and in the eveninor Messrs Foster and 
Vivian, of Baliol College, came to us to ask us to a col- 
lation, to be given us by that society next day. They 
were well-informed and liberal-minded men, but from 
them and their conversation we learned that this was 
far from applying to the generality of the university. 
We stayed all next day, and passed a very agreeable 
evening at Baliol College, where several more Fellows 
were assembled. 


Next morning we set out early for AVoodstock, 
where we breakfasted, and Avent to see Blenheim, a 
most magnificent park indeed. We narrowly in- 
spected the house and chapel, which, though much 
cried down by the Tory wits of Queen Anne's reign, 
appeared to us very magnificent, and worthy of the 
donors and of the occasion on which it was given. 
Our companion, James Adam, had seen all the splen- 
did palaces of Italy, and though he did not say that 
Sir John Vanburgh's design was faultless, yet he said 
it ill deserved the aspersions laid upon it, for he had 
seen few palaces where there was more movement, as 
he called it, than in Blenheim. The extent of the 
park and the beauty of the water (now a sea almost, 
as I am told) struck us very much. 

From Blenheim we made the best of our way to 
Warwick, where, as we had been much heated, and 
were very dusty, we threw off" our boots, and washed 
and dressed ourselves before we walked out. John 
Home would not put on his boots again ; but in clean 
stockings and shoes, when he was looking at himself 
in tlie glass, and prancing about the room in a truly 
poetical style, he turned short upon the boot-catch who 
had brought in our clean boots, and finding the fellow 
staring at him with seeming admiration, " And am not I 
a pretty fellow "? " said John. "Ay," says he, " sir," with 
half a smile. " And who do you take me for 1 " said 
John. " If you binna Jamy Dunlop the Scotch ped- 
lar, I dinna ken wha ye are ; but your ways are very 
like his." This reply confounded our friend not a little. 


and he looked still more foolish than Eobertson, when 
Jackson told at Staines that the Dissenting minister 
took him for a Methodist. 

Warwick we found to be a very pleasant old town, 
finely situated, with a handsome old church. The 
Castle of Warwick, the seat of the earl of that name, 
with the park, was truly magnificent, and the priory 
on the way to it, the seat of ]Mr Wise, not un- 
worthy of being viewed. We dined here, and were 
rather late in getting to Birmingham, where a sers^ant 
of Mr Garbett's lay in wait for us at the inn, and 
conducted us to his house, without letting us enter 
it. This man, of singular worth and very uncommon 
ability, with whom Robertson and I were intimately 
acquainted in Scotland, had anxiously wished us to 
come his way, with which we complied, not merely to 
see the wonders of the place, but to gratify him. Six 
or seven years before this, Dr Roebuck and he had 
established a vitriol work at Prestonpans, which suc- 
ceeded well, and the profits of which encouraged them 
to undertake the grand ironworks at Carron, which 
had commenced not long before. Garbett, who was 
a man of sense and judgment, was much against that 
great undertaking, as, independent of the profits of the 
vitriol works, they had not £3000 of stock between 
them. But the ardent mind of Roebuck carried Gar- 
bett away, and he yielded — giving up to his superior 
genius for great undertakings the dictates of prudence 
and his own sober judgment. Roebuck, having been 
bred in the medical school of Edinburgh, had science, 


and particularly the skill of applying chemistry to the 
useful arts. 

Ironworks were but recent in Scotland, and Roe- 
buck had visited them all, and every station where 
they could be erected, and had found that Carron was 
by far the best, which, if they did not occupy imme- 
diately, some other company would, and they must 
remain in the background for ever. This idea dazzled 
and overpowered the judicious mind of Garbett, which 
had been contented with the limited project of avail- 
ing themselves of the populations of Musselburgh and 
Fisherrow, and with the aid of Lord Milton, to whom 
I had introduced him, to begin an ironwork on a 
small scale on the Magdalene Burn, and introducing 
the manufactures of Birmingham at Fisherrow. This 
was highly gratifying to Milton, who would have lent 
his credit, and given the labours of his then active 
-mind, to bring it to perfection. 

Samuel Garbett was truly a very extraordinary 
man. He had been an ordinary worker in brass 
at Birmingham, and had no education farther than 
writing and accounts ; but he was a man of great 
acuteness of genius and extent of understanding. He 
had been at first distinguished from the common 
workmen by inventing some stamp for shortening 
labour. He was soon taken notice of by a Mr Hollis, 
a great merchant in London, who employed him as 
his agent for purchasing Birmingham goods. This 
brought him into notice and rank among his towns- 
men ; and the more he was known, the more he was 


esteemed. Let me observe once for all, that I have 
known no person but one more of such strong and 
lively feelings, of such a fair, candid, and honourable 
heart, and of such quick and ardent conceptions, who 
still retained the power of cool and dehberate judg- 
ment before execution. I had been much in his way 
when he came first to Prestonpans about the year 
'51 or '52, and had distinguished him and attracted 
his notice. He knew all the wise methods of manasc- 
ing men, and was sensible that he could not expect 
to have the most faithful workmen unless he con- 
sulted the minister. To obtain this aid he paid all 
due respect to my father, and, though of the Church 
of England, regularly attended the church, and in- 
deed made himself agreeable to the whole parish, high 
and low. Roebuck, though a scholar and of an in- 
ventive genius, was vain and inconstant, and an end- 
less projector, so that the real executive and manag- 
ing power lay in Garbett. 

He received us with open hospitality, and we were 
soon convinced we were welcome by the cordiality of 
his wife and daughter (afterwards Mrs Gascoign), who 
lodged the whole company but me, who, being their 
oldest acquaintance, they took the liberty to send to 
a friend's house. Hitherto they had lived in a very 
moderate style, but for his Scotch friends Garbett had 
provided very good claret, and for the time we stayed 
his table was excellent, though at that time they 
had only one maid and a blind lad as servants. This 
last was a wonder, for he did all the work of a man. 


and even brewed the ale, (but) that of serving at 
table ; and for this, Garbett [provided] according to 
the custom of the place, where no man was then 
ashamed of frugality. He made Patrick Downy, who 
was then an apprentice, stand at our backs. Patrick 
afterwards married the maid, who was the mistress's 
cousin ; was sent down to Prestonpans as an overseer, 
and was at last taken in as a partner : such was the 
primitive state of Birmingham and other manufactur- 
ing towns, and such encouragement did they then give 
to industry. Sed tandein luxu^na mcuhuit. Few 
men have I ever known who united ton;ether more of 
the prime qualities of head and heart. 

We passed the next day after our arrival in visit- 
ing the manufactures at Birmingham, though it was 
with difficulty I could persuade our poet to stay, by 
suggesting to him how uncivil his sudden departure 
would appear to our kind landlord. I got him, how- 
ever, to go through the tedious detail, till at last he 
said " that it seemed there as if God had created man 
only for making buttons." Next morning, after break- 
fast, Home set out for Admiral Smith's, his old friend, 
who, being a natural son of Sir Thomas Littleton, had 
built himself a good house in the village close by 
Hagley, the seat of Lord Littleton. We who were left, 
passed the day in seeing what remained unseen at Bir- 
mingham, particularly the Baskerville press, and Bas- 
kerville himself, who was a great curiosity. His house 
was a quarter of a mile from the town, and, in its way, 
handsome and elegant. What struck us most was his 


first kitchen, which was most completely furnished 
with everything that could be wanted, kept as clean 
and bright as if it had come straight from the shop, 
for it was used, and the fineness of the kitchen was 
a great point in the family ; for they received their 
company, and there were we entertained with cofiee 
and chocolate. Baske^^^lle was on hands with his 
folio Bible at this time, and Garbett insisted on 
being allowed to subscribe for Home and Eobertson. 
Home's absence afflicted him, for he had seen and 
heard of the tragedy of Douglas. Eobertson hitherto 
had no name, and the printer said bluntly that he 
would rather have one subscription to his work of a 
man like ]\[r Home, than an hundred ordinary men. He 
dined with us that day, and acquitted himself so well 
that Robertson pronounced him a man of genius, while 
James Adam and I thought him but a prating pedant. 
On agreement with John Home, we set out for 
Lord Littleton's, and were to take the Leasowes, 
Shenstone's place, in our way. Shenstone's was three 
or four miles short of Littleton's. We called in there 
on our way, and walked over all the grounds, which 
were finely laid out, and which it is needless to 
describe. The want of water was obvious, but the 
ornaments and mottoes, and names of the groves, 
were appropriate. Garbett was with us, and we had 
[seen] most of the place before Shenstone was dressed, 
who was going to dine vdih. Admiral Smith. We 
left one or two of the principal walks for him to 
show us. At the end of a high walk, from whence 

2 A 


we saw far into Gloster and Shrop shires, I met with 
what struck me most, — that was an emaciated pale 
young woman, evidently in the last stage of a con- 
sumption. She had a most interesting appearance, 
with a little girl of nine or ten years old, who had led 
her there. Shenstone went up and stood for some 
time conversing with her, till we went to the end of 
the walk and returned : on some of us taking an 
interest in her appearance, he said she was a very 
sickly neighbour, to whom he had lent a key to his 
walks, as she delighted in them, though now not able 
to use it much. The most beautiful inscription he 
afterwards wrote to the memory of Maria Dolman put 
me in mind of this young woman ; but, if I remember 
right, she was not the person. It is to me the most 
elegant and interesting of all Shenstone's works. 

We set all out for Admiral Smith's, and had Mr 
Shenstone to ride with us. His appearance surprised 
me, for he was a large heavy fat man, dressed in white 
clothes and silver lace, with his grey hairs tied be- 
hind and much powdered, which, added to his shyness 
and reserve, was not at first prepossessing. His reserve 
and melancholy (for I could not call it pride) abated 
as we rode along, and by the time we left him at the 
Admiral's, he became good company, — Garbett, who 
knew him well, having whispered him, that though we 
had no great name, he would find us not common men. 

Lord Littleton's we found superior to the description 
we had heard of it, and the day being favourable, the 
prospect from the high ground, of more than thirty 


miles of cultivated countrv, ending in the celebrated 
hill, the Wrekin, delighted us much. On our return 
to the inn, where we expected but an ordinary repast, 
we found a pressing invitation from the Admiral to dine 
with him, which we could not resist. Though a good 
deal disabled with the gout, he was kind and hos- 
pitable, and received Garbett, who was backward to 
go, very civilly. We intended to have rode back 
to Birmingham in the evening, but in the afternoon 
there came on such a dreadfid storm of thunder, ac- 
companied with incessant rain, as made the Admi- 
ral insist on our lodorinoj all nicrht with him. With 
this we complied ; but as he had no more than three 
spare beds, James Adam and Garbett were to go to 
the inn. Finding an interval of fair weather by 
eight o'clock, they rode to Birmingham, as Garbett 
was obliored to be home. 

After supper, the Admiral made us a spacious bowl 
of punch with his own hand, a composition on which 
he piqued himself not a little, and for which John 
Home extolled him to the skies. This nectar circu- 
lated fast, and with the usual effect of opening the 
hearts of the company, and making them speak out. 
It was on this occasion that Home said to the Ad- 
miral, that, knowing what he knew by conversing 
with him at Leith, he was very much surprised when 
he recommended Byng to mercy. " You shoidd have 
known, John, that I could never aU my life bear the 
idea of being accessory to blood, and therefore I joined 
in this recommendation, though I knew that by doing 


SO I should run the risk of never more being employed." 
This was a full confirmation of what John Home 
had said at the time of the sea-fight (p. 307). This 
fine punch even unlocked Shenstone's breast, who had 
hitherto been shy and reserved ; for besides mixing 
freely in the conversation, he told Home apart, that 
it was not so ag-reeable as he thought to live in 
the neighbourhood and intimacy of Lord Littleton, 
for he had defects which the benevolence of his gene- 
ral manners concealed, which made him often wish 
that he had lived at an hundred miles' distance. When 
Home told me this, I very easily conceived that the 
pride of a patron, joined to the jealousy of a rival 
poet, must often produce effects that might prove 
intolerable. We returned to Birmingham next morn- 
ing, and, with the most affectionate sense of the 
kindness of our landlord and his family, we set out 
on our journey north next morning. I have forgot 
to mention that we supped the last night with Dr 
Eoebuck, who, though a very clever and ingenious 
man, was far behind our friend m some of the most 
respectable qualities. 

We kept on through a middle road by Lichfield and 
Burton-on-Trent, where we could get no drinkable 
ale, though we threw ourselves there on purpose ; and 
next day, dining at Matlock, we were delighted with 
the fine ride we had through a vale similar but of 
more amenity than any we had seen in the highlands. 
We took the bath, too, which pleased and refreshed 
us much, for the day was sultry. We went at night 


to Enclsor Inn, opposite Chatsworth, the Duke of De- 
vonshire's fine house, -which we visited in the morning, 
with much admiration both of the structure, orna- 
ments, and situation. We ascended a wild moor, and 
got to Sheffield to dinner, where, as we declined visit- 
ing a brother of Dr Roebuck's, on whom Garbett had 
given us a note of credit, we sent his letter to him 
and went on. Next day we saw Rockingliam or 
Wentworth Castle in our way, and became satisfied 
with sights, so that we turned no more off our road 
till we came to Ripon, where we could not resist the 
desire of visiting Studley Park, then a great object of 
curiosity to aU people from our country', as it was 
then the nearest fine place. Alnwick Castle had not 
then been repaired or beautified. After we had left 
Sheffield, where we might have got money, we dis- 
covered that we were like to run short, for Dr Robert- 
son, unlike his usual prudence, had only put two 
guineas in his pocket, trusting to the full purse of his 
cousin, James Adam, who had taken no more than he 
computed would pay the fourth part of our expense. 
Home and I had done the same. I was treasurer, and 
at Leeds, I believe, I demanded a contribution, when 
it was found that, by Robertson's deficiency and our 
purchasing some goods at Birmingham with the com- 
mon stock, I was sensible we would run out before 
we came to Newcastle. This led us to inferior inns, 
which cost us as dear for much inferior entertainment. 
We held out till we passed Durham, which we did 
by keeping to the west of that city, and saving two 


miles, having made our meal at [ ], which Home 

knew to be a good house. From thence we might 
have got early into Newcastle, had we not been 
seduced by a horse-race we met with near Chester- 
le-Street. This we could not resist, as some of us 
had never seen John Bull at his favourite amusement. 
There was a great crowd, and the Mrs and Misses 
Bull made a favourite part of the scene, their equi- 
pages being single and double horses, sometimes triple, 
and many of them ill mounted, and yet all of them 
with a keenness, eagerness, violence of motion and 
loudness of vociferation, that appeared like madness 
to us, for we thought them in extreme danger, by their 
crossing and justling in all directions at the full gal- 
lop, and yet none of them fell. Having tired our 
horses with this diversion, we were obliged to halt at 
an inn to give them a little corn, for we had been four 
hours on horseback, and we had nine miles to New- 
castle. Besides corn to five horses, and a bottle of 
porter to our man Anthony, I had just two shillings 
remaining ; but I could only spare one of them, for w^e 
had turnpikes to pay, and so called for a pint of port, 
which, mixed with a quart of water, made a good 
drink for each of us. Our horses and their riders 
being both jaded, it was ten o'clock before we arrived 
at Newcastle ; there we got an excellent supper, &c., 
and a good night's sleep. I sent for Jack Widdrington 
when at breakfast, who immediately gave us what 
money we wanted ; and we, who had been so penurious 
for three days, became suddenly extravagant. Adam 


bought a £20 horse, and the rest of us what trinkets 
we thought we wanted — Eobertson for his wife and 
children at Gladsmuir, and Home and I for the chil- 
dren at Polwarth manse. As we drew nearer home, 
our motion became accelerated and our conversation 
duller : we had been in two parties, which were formed 
about five or six miles from London ; for having met 
with a cow, with a piece of old flannel tied about one 
of her horns, pasturing on a very wide lane on the 
road, Home and Eobertson made a sudden tack to the 
left, to be out of reach of this furious wild beast : 
I jeered them, and asked of what they were afraid. 
They said a mad cow — did I observe the warning 
given by cloth upon her horn "? " Yes," says I, " but 
that is only because her horn was hurt ; did you not see 
how quiet she was when I passed her 1 " Adam took 
my part, and the controversy lasted all the way down, 
when we had nothing else to talk of. There were so 
many diverting scenes occurred in the course of our 
journey, that we often regretted since that we had not 
drawn a journal of it. Our debates about trifles were 
infinitely amusing. Our man Anthony was at once 
a source of much jangUng and no smaU amusement. 
He was never ready when we mounted, and went 
slowly on, but he was generally half a mile behind 
us, and we had to halt when we wanted anything. I 
had got a hickory stick from Jackson, not worth Is. 6d., 
which I would have left at the first stage had not 
Home and Robertson insisted on my not doing it ; but 
as I had less baggage, and an equal right in Anthony 


and his horse, and was treasurer withal, which they 
were afraid I would throw up, I carried mj point ; 
and this stick being five feet long, and sometimes, by 
lying across the clothes-bag, entangled with hedges, 
furnished him with a ready excuse. It was very 
warm weather in May, and we rode in the hottest 
of the day : we seldom got on horseback before ten 
o'clock, for there was no getting Kobertson and Home 
to bed, and Jamie Adam could not get up, and had, 
besides, a very tedious toilet. Our two friends 
wanted sometimes to go before us, but I would not 
pay the bill till James and Anthony were both ready, 
and till then the ostler would not draw or lead out 
the horses from the stable. As I perceived that 
Eobertson and Home were commentino; on all mv 
actions, I, with the privacy of James Adam, did odd 
things on purpose to astonish them : as, for instance, 
at the inn near Studley, where we breakfasted, hav- 
ing felt my long hair intolerably warm about my 
neck, I cut ofif five or six inclies of a bit of ragged 
green galloon that was hanging down from a chair- 
back in the room, with which I tied my hair behind. 
This made a very motley appearance. But when we 
came to take horse, in spite of the heat I appeared 
with my greatcoat, and had fastened the cape of it 
round my head ; and in this guise I rode through the 
town of Ripon, at the end of which I disengaged 
myself from my greatcoat, and my friends saw the 
reason of this masquerade. Another day, between 
twelve and one, riding through very close hedges near 


Comhill, we were all like to die of heat, and were able 
only to walk our horses. I fell behind, pulled my 
greatcoat from Anthony, put it on, and came up with 
my friends at a hard trot. They then thought that I 
had certainly gone mad, but they did not advert to 
it, that the chief oppression of heat is before the per- 
spiration. My receipt had relieved my frenzy, and I 
reined in my horse till they came up to me. Soon after 
we left Cornhill, we separated. Home and I stopped at 
Polwarth manse for a night, and Eobertson and Adam 
went on by Longformacus to Gladsmuir, Kobertson's 
abode. James Adam, though not so bold and superior 
an artist as his brother Kobert, was a well-informed 
and sensible man, and furnished me with excellent 
conversation, as we generally rode together. Thus 
ended a journey of eighteen days, which, on the whole, 
had proved most amusing and satisfactory. 

We got to our respective abodes by the 22d of May, 
and were in time for the business week of the General 
Assembly, of which Eobertson and I were membei-s, 
and where we came in time to assist in sending Dr 
Blair to the New Church, to which he had a right, 
and of which a sentence of the Synod of Lothian and 
Tweeddale unjustly deprived him. This was the only 
occasion on which he ever spoke in the General As- 
sembly, which he did remarkably well. 


1758-1759 : AGE, 36-37. 






It was in tlie month of August this summer that 
Eobertson and I passed two days at Minto with Sir 
Gilbert Elliot, who was very open and communicative. 
About the middle of October I rode to Inverary, being 
invited by the Milton family, who always were with 
the Duke of Argyle, and who generally remained 
there till near the end of the year. I got the first 
night to my friend Eobin Bogle's, at Shettleston, near 
Glasgow, where I found him very happy with his wife 
and family. He was an honest, gentlemanly man, but 
had been very dissipated before his marriage. From 
Glasgow I went all night to Eoseneath, where, in a 
small house near the castle, lived my friend. Miss Jean 
Campbell of Carrick, with her mother, who was a 
sister of General John Campbell of Mamore, after- 
wards Duke of Argyle, and father of the present Duke. 
Next day, after passing Loch Long, I went over 


Argyle's BowliDg-Green, called so on account of the 
roughness of the road. As my horses were not 
frosted, and the ice was strong, I had to walk about 
six miles. This made me late in getting to St 
Catherine's, directly opposite to Inverary. I wished 
very much to get across the loch, as it was but six in 
the evening; but the mistress of the house, wishing to 
detain me and my serv^ant and horses all night, pre- 
tended that the boatmen were out of the way and the 
oars a-seeking, and that I could not get across that 
night. This vexed me, as it was a miserable house to 
sleep in ; however, I called for a mutchkin of whisky, 
and prevailed with the good woman to taste it with- 
out water. As she became so familiar as to ask where 
I was when I was at home, I told her I was a school- 
fellow of M'Callum More, and was much disappointed 
at not crossing the lake, as I had letters of importance 
to deliver to his Grace. She stared, and said I was a 
stalwart carl of such an age : my grisly imdressed hair 
favoured this deception. I added that, if I could 
cross the loch, I intended to leave my servant and 
horses all night to her care, to come round by the 
head of the loch in the morning ; but if I coidd not 
cross, I must venture to ride the nine miles round, 
dark as it was. She took another sip of the whisky, 
and then left the room. In five minutes she returned 
and told me that the boatmen had appeared and were 
seeking for their oars, and would be ready in a few 
minutes. This was good news to me, as I knew the 
inn at Inverary to be pretty good, as I had been there 


two niglits when I went to their country, in 1754, 
with Jamie Cheap of Sauchie. I was very soon sum- 
moned to the boat, and after recommending my man, 
John M'Lachlan, to the care of the landlady, I bid 
her farewell. We got very soon over, the night being 
calm, and the distance not much more than two 

I did not go that night to the Duke's house, as I 
knew I could not have a bed there (as he had not yet 
got into the Castle), but I went in the morning, and 
was very politely received, not only by the Milton 
family, but by the Duke and his two cousins, the pre- 
sent Duke, and his brother Lord Frederick, who were 
there. His Grace told me immediately that Miss 
Fletcher had made him expect my visit, and that he 
was sorry he could not offer me lodging, but that he 
would hope to see me every day to breakfast, dinner, 
and supper. 

It would be quite superfluous to say anything here 
of the character of Archibald, Duke of Argyle, as the 
character of that illustrious person, both as a states- 
man and an accomplished gentleman and scholar, is 
perfectly known. I was told that he was a great 
humorist at Inverary, and that you could neither 
drink his health nor ask him how he did without dis- 
obliging ; but this was exaggerated. To be sure, he 
waved ceremony very much, and took no trouble at 
table, and would not let himself be waited for, and came 
in when he pleased, and sat down on the chair that was 
left, which was neither at the head nor foot of the 


table. But he cured me of all constraint tlie first 
day, for in his first or second glass of wine he drank 
my health and welcomed me to Inverary, and hoped 
that as long as I stayed, which he wished to be all 
the week at least, I would think myself at home. 
Though he never drank to me again, I was much more 
gratified by his directing much of his conversation to 
me. His colloquial talent was very remarkable, for 
he never harangued or was tedious, but listened to 
you in your turn. We sat down every day fifteen 
or sixteen to dinner ; for besides his two cousins and 
the Fletcher family, there were always seven or eight 
Argyleshire gentlemen, or factors on the estate, at 
dinner. The Duke had the talent of conversing with 
his guests so as to distinguish men of knowledge and 
talents without neglecting those who valued them- 
selves more on their birth and their rent-rolls than on 
personal merit. After the ladies were withdrawn and 
he had drunk his bottle of claret, he retired to an easy- 
chair set hard by the fireplace : drawing a black silk 
nightcap over his eyes, he slept, or seemed to sleep, 
for an hour and a half. In the mean time, Sandie 
M'Millan, who was toast-master, pushed about the 
bottle, and a more noisy or regardless company could 
liardly be. Milton retired soon after the ladies, and 
about six o'clock M'^Iillan and the gentlemen drew 
ofl" (for at that time dinner was always served at two 
o'clock), when the ladies returned, and his Grace 
awoke and called for his tea, w^hich he made himself 
at a little table apart from that of the company. Tea 


being over, lie played two rubbers at sixpenny wbist, 
as he did in London. He had always some of the 
ladies of his party, while the rest amused themselves 
at another table. Supper was served soon after nine, 
and there being nobody left but those with w^hom he 
was familiar, he drank another bottle of claret, and 
could not be got to go to bed till one in the morning. 
Jack Campbell of Stonefield, who had lately married 
his niece, Lady Grace Stuart, came to us on the 
second day. I may add that the provisions for the 
table were at least equal to the conversation ; for w^e 
had sea and river fish in perfection, the best beef and 
mutton and fowls and wild game and venison of both 
kinds in abundance. The wines, too, were excellent. 

I stayed over Sunday and preached to his Grace, 
who always attended the church at Inverary. The 
ladies told me that I had pleased his Grace, which 
gratified me not a little, as without him no preferment 
could be obtained in Scotland. 

The Duke had a great collection of fine stories, which 
he told so neatly, and so frequently repeated them 
without variation, as to make one believe that he had 
wrote them down. He had been in the battle of She- 
riifmuir, and was slightly wounded in his foot, which 
made him always halt a little. He would have been 
an admirable soldier, as he had every talent and quali- 
fication necessary to arrive at the height of that pro- 
fession ; but his brother John, Duke of Argyle, having 
gone before him with a great and rising reputation, he 
was advised to take the line of a statesman. I may 


add here, that when he died in spring 1762, it was 
found that he had marked my name down in his pri- 
vate note-book for Principal of the College of Glasgow, 
a body in whose prosperity he was much interested, 
as he had been educated there, and had said to Andrew 
Fletcher junior, to whom he showed the note, that it 
would be very hard if he and I between us could not 
manage that troublesome society. This took no effect, 
for the Duke died a year or two before Principal 
Campbell, when Lord Bute had all the power; so that 
when the vacancy happened in the end of 1761, or 
beginning of '62, Professor Leechman was preferred 
to it, who was the friend, and had been the tutor, of 
Mr Baron Mure. 

I slept all night at Levenside, as I had promised to 
Stonefield, and got home the second day after. 

In the end of this year, 1 758, 1 was tempted, by the 
illiberal outcry that was raised against the Minister, 
William Pitt, on the failure of General Bligh, on the 
affair of St Cas, on the French coast, to write the 
pamphlet, "Plain Reasons for Removing the Right 
Honourable William Pitt from his Majesty's Councils 
for ever, by 0. ]\I. Haberdasher ; " which was pub- 
lished in London in the beginning of 1759, and had a 
great run. I had wrote it in the ironical style of 
Dean Swift, like that about burning the tragedy of 
Douglas, and thought I had succeeded pretty well. 
Besides panegyric on that great man, who had raised 
us from a very low state of political depression, not 
only in the eyes of all Europe, but in our own opinion, 


to make rapid progress to the highest state of national 
glory in which ever we had been, — it contained like- 
wise much satire against the Minister who had re- 
duced us so low. 

After I returned from Inverary, I visited my friend 
Mrs Wedderburn, whom, to my great grief, I found 
low and dejected. The Captain had been obliged to 
join his regiment in the West Indies in the spring, 
Avhere there was much fighting, and she had not heard 
of him for some time. She was brought to bed of a 
daughter early in December, and died of a fever at 
that time, universally regretted, and never to be 
forgotten by those who were intimately acquainted 
with her. 

Thus ended a year of greater variety than any in 
my life ; for though I had been in London before, and 
had rode to Edinburgh likewise on horseback, yet I 
had not till then seen such a variety of characters, nor 
had I acquired such a talent for observation, nor pos- 
sessed a line for sounding the depths of the human 
character commensurate to that purpose as I now had. 
On this tour I had seen great variety of characters, 
wdth many of wdiom having been very intimate, the 
defect was in myself if I had not been able to sound 
all the depths and shallows through which I passed. 

In this year, 1759, in the beginning of which I en- 
joyed the success of my ironical pamphlet in defence 
of William Pitt, afterwards Lord Chatham, I was en- 
couraged to take my pen again occasionally, when 
anything should occur that suited it. Two or three 


years after this period, our neighbourhood was en- 
riched by the residence of a very valuable man, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Robert Campbell of Finab, a man of 
the first-rate understanding and ability. He had been 
in the Duke of Cumberland's war, and was captain of 
grenadiers in the 42d regiment, but had been much 
disgusted with the Duke of Cumberland, and not hav- 
ing good health, he left the army, I think, with major s 
rank ; and some time thereafter ha^^ng bought the 
estate of Drumore, he came to live there with his 
family. As he had been at college with me, and in 
the same class, and having had a boyish intimacy to- 
gether, it was not difficult to renew my acquaintance, 
and to make it more intimate. He was very sociable, 
and liked golf, the sport in which I excelled and took 
much pleasure. The Colonel had read very little, but 
he had taken a more comprehensive view of men and 
affairs than almost any person I ever knew. Adam 
Ferguson and he had been very intimate, and had a 
mutual regard for each other. This gentleman was 
truly a great addition to our society. He had been 
member of Parliament for Argyleshire, and was Re- 
ceiver-General of the Customs for many years before 
his death. He left no son but Lieutenant-General 
Alexander Campbell of Monzie, the heir of his father's 
sagacity and talents, with more experience in war. 

There was nothing very material before the General 
Assembly of this year, unless it was an explanation 
■^d extension of the Act against simoniacal practices, 
which had become necessary on account of some re- 

2 B 


cent transactions. Dr Robertson had been translated 
to Edinburgh this year, but did not yet take any par- 
ticular charge of the affairs of the Church, because, 
not being yet Principal, he could not be a member of 
Assembly every year, as he afterwards was. 

My father had gone to London in the month of 
March, to visit his daughter, Mrs Dickson, and 1 
had rode with him to Berwick. He was very much 
pleased and amused at London, where, besides his 
daughter and her infant, Jiis first grandchild, he had 
his sisters, Paterson and Lyon, still alive, which gave 
him great satisfaction. As he had never been in 
London before, he enjoyed it very much, though now 
in his seventieth year. But being fresh and vigorous, 
and remarkably cheerful, he was a very great favour- 
ite with all his new acquaintances. But as he would 
needs ride down in midsummer, and had been unlucky 
in the purchase of a horse, which was very hard set, and 
still more so in his choice of a companion — one of his 
daughter's disappointed lovers, who paid no regard to 
his age in the length of his day's journey — he was so 
much overheated, that, as my mother alleged, the fever 
never afterwards left him, which concluded his life in 
the year 1765, on the 8th of March. A more kind and 
affectionate parent and relation, or more benevolent 
neighbour, or more faithful pastor, never existed. 

It was near the end of summer this year that 
Charles Townshend and Lady Dalkeith, with her 
daughter, Lady Frances Scott, then above eight years 
of age [came to Dalkeith], and remained there for two 


months. As they had two public days in the week, 
according to the ancient mode of the family, they 
drew a great deal of company to the house ; and as I 
was considered as chaplain in ordinary to the family, 
the minister of Dalkeith for the time not being much in 
favour, I was very frequently there. Charles Townshend 
was a rising statesman, who aspired at the highest of- 
fices. A project he conceived after he came here much 
increased our intimacy : this was to offer himself a 
candidate for the seat in Parliament for the city of 
Edinburgh. The state of the city at that time made 
it not improbable that he might succeed. A Mr For- 
rester, a counsellor-at-law, of Irish birth, and quite a 
stranger here, had been recommended by Baron ^^laule 
to the Duke of Argyle, to whom he was known, and 
to Lord ^lilton. Forrester was by no means popular 
in Edinburgh, and Charles Townshend had bewitched 
Lord Milton with his seducing tongue, which made 
him more sanguine in his project. He discovered 
that I had much to say with the Baron and his lady, 
whom he caj oiled and flattered excessively. 

He took me for his confidant and adviser in this 
business. I had many conferences with him on the 
subject, and endeavoured to convince him that if he 
was not master of his wife's uncle, the Duke of 
Argyle, as he pretended to have his own uncle, the 
Duke of Newcastle, he would never succeed ; for 
though Milton seemed to govern Argyle in most 
things, which was necessary for the support of his 
credit as well as for the Duke's ease, yet there were 


points in which Milton could not stir a step without 
the Duke, and in my opinion this was one of them. 
On this he fell into a passion, and exclaimed that I 
was so crusty as never to be of his opinion, and to 
oppose him in everything. On this I laughed full in 
his face, took to my hat, and said that if this was the 
way in which he chose to treat his friend and adviser, 
it was time I were gone, for I could be of no use to 
him. He calmed on this, and asked my reason for 
thinking as I did. I answered that the Member of 
Parliament for the city of Edinburgh was of great 
consequence, as whoever held that was sure of the 
political government of the country, and without it 
no man would be of any consequence ; that his lady, 
being the Duke's niece, was against him ; for as in 
political business no regard was paid to blood, that 
very circumstance was hostile to his design ; for it 
was not to be supposed that the Duke of Argyle 
would allow a young nobleman from the south, who 
had made himself a man of importance in the north 
by having obtained the guardianship of the heir of 
one of our greatest families in his minority, to take 
the capital of Scotland by a coup -de-main, and thereby 
undermine or subvert his political interest, for with- 
out his viceroyalty in Scotland,. His Grace was of no 
importance in the State. I added that it was impos- 
sible to conceive that the Duke would be so blind as 
not to see that a young man of his aspiring temper 
and superior talents would [not] think of making him- 
self member for Edinburgh, merely to show his address 


in political cauvassing, to lay himself at the feet of his 
wife's uncle. This, with much more that I repre- 
sented to him, seemed to open his eyes ; yet he still 
went on, for he could not desist from the pleasure 
of the courtship, though he had little prospect of 

He came at last to be contented with the glory of 
driving Forrester off the field, which was not difficult 
to do ; for when Charles had the freedom of the city 
presented to him, and a dinner given him on the 
occasion, he lessened the candidate so much in their 
eyes by his fine vein of ridicule, that the dislike of 
the Town Council was increased to aversion. But 
Charles, while he effected one part of his purpose, 
failed in another ; for though he drove away his rival, 
he gained no ground for himself. He was imprudent 
and loose-tongued enough to ridicule the good old 
King George II., which, though it was not unusual 
among young noblemen, and indeed wits of all ranks, 
yet could not be endured by the citizens of Edin- 
burgh, who, seeing their King far off and darkly, were 
shocked with the freedoms that were used with him. 
Besides this, Milton, who had been dazzled at first by 
Charles's shining talents and elegant flattery, began to 
grow cold, and drew off. He had sounded the uncle, 
and found in him a strong jealousy of the nephew, 
mixed with some contempt, the effect of which dis- 
covery was the gradual alienation of Milton, who 
had really been enamoured of Charles, and perhaps 
secretly thought he could manage him, if he had sue- 


cess, with more absolute sway tlaan he did the Duke 
of Argyle. 

After Charles returned to England he did not for 
some time desist, and I had much correspondence 
with him on the subject ; some of his letters I have 
still, but I kept no copies of my own, which I have 
since regretted, as they were wrote with anxiety and 
exertion. When I was in London in 1770, there was 
a gentleman who pressed me to pay a visit to Lady 
Townshend, his mother, who having many letters of 
mine to her son, was desirous to see me ; but not 
choosing to be introduced anywhere by that gentle- 
man, I missed the opportunity of recovering my 
letters, which I have since understood are burnt, with 
all Charles's correspondence. The end of all w^as that 
Forrester having retreated from the field, having no 
friend but Baron Maule, and a caveat being entered 
against Charles Townshend, the good town of Edin- 
burgh were glad to take an insignificant citizen for 
their member. 

AVhile Mr Townshend was here, we had him chosen 
a member of the Select Society in one sitting (against 
the rules), that we might hear him speak, which he 
accordingly did at the next meeting, and was answered 
by Lord Elibank and Dr Dick, w^ho were superior to 
him in argument and knowledge of the subject. Like 
a meteor, Charles dazzled for a moment, but the bril- 
liancy soon faded away, and left no very strong im- 
pression, so that when he returned to England at the 
end of two months, he had stayed long enough here. 


I must not forget, however, to mention an anecdote 
or two of him, which will explain his character more. 
Nothing could excel the liveliness of his parts, nor 
the facility with which he made other people's thoughts 
his own in a moment. 

I called on him one morning at Dalkeith, when he 
said I had come most apropos, if not engaged, for 
that he was going to ride to Edinburgh to make 
some calls : and his wife beinsj ensjao-ed to dine with 
the Duchess of Gordon, he would be very glad of a 
small party in a tavern. I agreed, and we rode to 
Edinburgh together. When we drew near that city, 
he begged me to ride on and bespeak a small dinner 
at a tavern, and get a friend or two if I could to join 
us, as he must turn to the left to call on some people 
who lived in that direction. I went to town directly, 
and luckily found Home and Ferguson in Kincaid's 
shop, and secured them, and sent a cady to Eobertson 
to ask him to meet us at the Cross Keys soon after 
two o'clock, who likewise came. During dinner, and 
for almost an hour after, Charles, who seemed to be 
fatigued with his morning visits, spoke not a single 
word, and we four went on with our kind of cou- 
vei^ation, without adverting to Mr Townshend's ab- 
sence. After he had drunk a pint of claret, he seemed 
to awaken from his reverie, and then silenced us 
all with a torrent of colloquial eloquence, which was 
highly entertaining, for he gave us all our own ideas 
over again, embodied in the finest language, and de- 
livered in the most impressive manner. When he 


parted from us, my friends remarked upon his excel- 
lence in this talent, in which Robertson agreed with 
them, without, perhaps, being conscious that he was 
the most able proficient in that art. 

It was in the second week of August when the school 
at Musselburgh was publicly examined, and when the 
magistrates gave what was called the Solan Goose Feast. 
I took this opportunity of inviting Mr Townshend to 
visit the school, and to dine with the magistrates, as 
he was tutor to His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, 
the lord superior of the town. Mr Townshend sent 
them a fine haunch of venison, and Mr Cardonnel, 
who was magistrate at this time, took care to 
assemble a brilliant company of men of letters to 
meet Mr Townshend, among whom were Home, 
Robertson, Ferguson, and William Wilkie.* There 
was a numerous company, and the best dinner they 
could make. Cardonnel, in his anxiety to have the 
venison properly roasted, had directed the cook to 
put a paste round it ; but she not having given it 
time enough, it came up to the table half raw, to the 
great disappointment of the company, but chiefly of 
a Colonel Parr, whose serious affliction made the rest 
of the company quite easy on the occasion, for he 
literally w^ept and shed bitter tears, and whined out 
what an unfortunate fellow he was, that the only 
haunch of venison he had met with in Scotland, and 

* As to Cardonnel, see above, p. 219. In the Wilkie who figures in the 
scene the reader will recognise the groat Greek scholar, and author of the 
EpUjoniad. — Ed. 


the only one lie had any chance of seeing while here, 
should be served up raw ! This set the whole table in 
a roar of laughter, and reconciled them to their fate. 
After a little time, the Colonel recovered from his 
disaster by the use of the gridiron to the venison, 
and having got up his spirits with half-a-dozen glasses 
of good claret, began to talk away with some effect ; 
for excepting his effeminacy about venison, he was 
not a bad fellow. 

He was unlucky, however, in one of his topics ; for, 
Wilkie having begun to open. Parr, addressing himself 
to him, said something rude about the professors 
of St Andrews (of which university AYilkie had very 
recently been chosen a member), and wished they 
would keep their students and professors within their 
waUs, for that his corps had lately enlisted one of 
them, who was not only the most awkward beast, but 
the most unruly and debauched rascal that ever wore 
a red coat. Wilkie, who was indignant on this attack, 
and a very great master of horse-play raillery, and 
in scolding feared neither man nor woman, replied 
with witty and successful tartness, which, however, did 
not silence the Colonel ; when the company took sides, 
and there ensued a brawling conversation, which lasted 
too long. Mr Townshend had interposed, with an 
intention to support Wilkie against his countryman ; 
but Wilkie, being heated, mistook him, and after two 
or three brushes on each side, silenced him as he had 
done the Colonel ; and the report afterwards went that 
Wilkie had completely foiled the English champion at 


bis own weapons — wit and raillery. But this was a 
mistake, for Mr Townshend had not the least desire 
to enter the lists with Wilkie, but whispered to me, 
who sat next to him, that as Wilkie grew brutal, he 
would put an end to the contest by making no answer. 
A silence ensued, which Cardonnel, one of the best 
toast-masters, took advantage of by giving us three 
bumpers in less than two minutes ; all contest for vic- 
tory was at an end, and the company united again. 
Townshend said to me afterwards, when he came to 
take his carriage at my house, that he had never met 
with a man who approached so near the two extremes 
of a god and a brute as Wilkie did. 

Soon after this, Mr Townshend, and the Countess 
and her daughter Lady Frances Scott, set out for 
London. This was a very clever child, whose humour 
and playfulness Mr Townshend's good-nature had 
to encourage and protect against maternal discipline 
carried too far. He continued to protect and instruct 
her, and frequently employed her as his amanuensis, 
as she has frequently told me since ; and added, that 
if he had not died when she was only sixteen, he 
would have made her a politician. 

In the middle of September this year I w^ent to Dum- 
fries to meet my friends, as I usually did, and to accom- 
pany my friend Dr Wight, who had come from Dublin 
to Dumfries, and forward to Musselburgh to visit me. 
While Wight was here, we supped one night in Edin- 
burgh with the celebrated Dr Franklin at Dr Eobert- 
son's house, then at the head of the Cowgate, where 


he had come at Whitsunday, after his being translated 
to Edinburorh. Dr Franklin had his son with him; 
and besides Wight and me, there were David Hume, 
Dr Cullen, Adam Smith, and two or three more. Wight 
and Franklin had met and breakfasted together in the 
inn at [ ] without learning one another's names, 

but they were more than half acquainted when they 
met here. Wight, who could talk at random on all 
sciences without being very deeply skilled in any, 
took it into his head to be very eloquent on chemis- 
try, a course of which he had attended in Dublin ; and 
perceiving that he diverted the company, particularly 
Franklin, who was a silent man, he kept it up with 
Cullen, then professor of that science, who had im- 
prudently committed himself with him, for the greatest 
part of the evening, to the infinite diversion of the 
company, who took great delight in seeing the great 
Professor foiled in his own science by a novice. Frank- 
lin's son was open and communicative, and pleased 
the company better than his father ; and some of us 
observed indications of that decided difference of 
opinion between father and son which, in the American 
war, alienated them altogether. 

On our journey he [Dr Wight] told me that he was 
heartily tired of his situation as a dissenting clergy- 
man, and of the manner of life in Dublin, which, 
though social and convivial to the last degree, yet led 
to nothing, and gave him no heartfelt satisfaction, 
there being but a very few indeed with whom he could 
unite in truly confidential friendship. As I knew that 


the University of Glasgow were resolved to vacate 
Mr Ruat's professorship if he remained much longer 
abroad, and as I happened likewise to know that he 
would not return during the life of Lord Hope, who 
was in a slow decline, I formed the plan of obtaining 
his professorship, which was that of History, and in 
the gift of the Crown, for Dr Wight, and I set about 
to secure it immediately. This was easily done, for I 
had access to His Grace the Duke of Queensberry, not 
only by writing to him myself, but by interesting 
John JVrKie Ross in the business, with whom both 
Wight and I were related, and also by means of Sir 
Gilbert Elliot Ave could secure Lord Bute; while I, 
through Lord Milton, could gain the consent of the 
Duke of Argyle. I had favourable answers from every- 
body, and had no doubt of getting the place if it was 

Before I left Dumfries, I was witness to an extra- 
ordinary riot which took place there on Michaelmas, 
the day of the election of their magistrates. Provost 
Bell had been two years dead, and the party which he 
had established in power, when he brought them over 
to their natural protector, the good Duke of Queens- 
berry, being desirous to preserve their influence, did not 
think they could do better than to raise John Dickson, 
that Provost's nephew, to be their chief magistrate. As 
this man was at present Convener of the Trades, who 
are powerful in Dumfries, and was popular among 
them, he thought his ambition would be easily grati- 
fied. But there were sundry objections to this measure. 


Andrew Crosbie, advocate, the son of a Provost of 
that name who had been a private supporter of Pro- 
vost Bell, in opposition to the party of the Tories, 
thought this a proper time to attempt an overturn of 
the present magistrates and managers, and put his 
own friends in their room, who would either be 
directed by Crosbie's maternal uncle, Lord Tinwald, 
then Justice-Clerk, and far advanced in years, or gain 
the credit and advantage of governing the town under 
the Duke of Queensberry. As Crosbie was a clever 
fellow, and young and adventurous, and a good in- 
flammatory speaker, he soon raised the commons of 
the town almost to a pitch of madness against Dick- 
son."' On the day of election, which happened to be 
on Saturday, they rose in a tumultuous manner, and 
took possession of the stair leading up to the Town 
Hall, and would not allow the election to proceed. 
But, supposing no election could take place after 
the day was elapsed, when twelve o'clock struck 
they allowed the magistrates and Council to depart. 
They came down separately and by backways to the 
George Inn, where Dr Wight and I were waiting to 
see the issue of this day's riot. Dickson had married 
a sister of Wight's for his second wife. We waited 
in an adjacent room till the election was over, and 
then joined them for half an hour, to drink the health 
of the new Provost. 

* Andrew Crosbie was a distingiiLshed advocate, in great practice ; but 
little is now known of him except a few convivial anecdotes. He is sup- 
jtosed to be the prototyi)e of Pleydel in Guy Mannermg. — Ed. 


The Deputy-Sheriff Kirkpatrick had come down from 
his house, ten or twelve miles off, with several country 
gentlemen, but there being no soldiers in the town, 
had not attempted to disperse the mob by any other 
method than remonstrance. This affair ended in a 
very expensive lawsuit, and Dickson's right to be 
provost w^as established. Wight was on his return to 
Dublin, and I on mine home ; so I took leave of my 
friends on Monday, that I might see our grandfather, 
w^ho by that time had an assistant. 

On Tuesday morning, October 2, on my return 
from this visit to Dumfries, I got to Moffat, where I 
knew John Home was, as he usually passed two or 
three weeks every season there. He introduced me 
to M'Pherson in tl^e bowling-green, as I have nar- 
rated in a letter to the Highland Society. He was 
good-looking, of a large size, with very thick legs, to 
■ hide which he generally wore boots, though not then 
the fashion. He appeared to me proud and reserved, 
and shunned dining with us on some pretence. I 
knew him intimately afterwards.'" 

The Duke of Argyle made his usual visit to Argyle- 
shire in October, and stopped for a week or two at 
Brunstane, Lord Milton's, as he now seldom occupied 
his lodging in the Abbey, not caring to be troubled 

* The letter referred to is in the Report of the Highland Society on the 
authenticity of the Poems of Osslan, p. 66. He states that Macpherson 
showed some unfinished fragments, and continues — ^"Mr Home had been 
higlily delighted with them ; and when he showed them to me, I was per- 
fectly astonished at the poetical genius displayed in them. We agreed that 
it was a precious discovery, and that as soon as possible it shoidd be pub- 
lished to the world." — Ed. 


with too many visitors from the city of Edinburgh. 
I was sent for to him, and passed a very agreeable 
day. He rallied me on my friend Charles Townshend's 
attempt to steal the city of Edinburgh, and said he 
was not a very dutiful nephew. His Grace knew 
perfectly my intimacy with him, and so did not push 
the conversation. 

It was after this that I was persuaded by William 
Johnstone, advocate, now Sir William Pulteney, and 
Adam Ferguson, to write what was called the Mihtia 
Pamphlet, under the signature of " A Freeholder of 
Ayrshire," which I chose, because that was said to be 
the only shire in Scotland out of which there had not 
issued a single rebel in 174.5.* After an hour's con- 
versation with the two gentlemen I have mentioned, 
I undertook to virrite the pamphlet, and finished it in 
a fortnight, and carried it to Johnstone, who was 
highly pleased with it, and, after showing it to Fer- 
guson, had it transcribed by his own clerk, and then 
shown to Robertson, who believed it to be of John- 
stone's writing, as he had told him that the author's 
name was to be concealed. Robertson was well 

• The pamphlet here referred to is called "The Question relating to a 
Scots Militia considered, in a Letter to the Lortls and Gentlemen who have 
concerted the form of law for that establishment. By a Freeholder." The 
Act which placed the militia of England nearly in its present position, had 
been jiassed by the exertions of the authors friend, Charles Townshend, in 
1757. When a proposal for extending the system to Scotland was suggested, 
ministers were afraid to arm the people among whom the insurrection of 
1745 had occurred, and the feud between Jacobite and Revolutionist was 
still fresh. It is curious that, for a reason almost identical, Ireland has been 
excepted from the Volunteer organisation of a century later. It was not 
imtil 1793 that the Militia Acts were extended to Scotland. — Ed. 


pleased, though he took no great concern about tho?e 
kind of writings, and added a short paragraph in 
page [ ], which he laughingly alleged was the cause 
of its success, for great and unexpected success it 
certainly had ; for it hit the tone of the country at 
that time, which being irritated at the line which was 
drawn between Scotland and England with respect to 
militia, was very desirous to have application made 
for it in the approaching session of Parliament. Much 
honour was done to this pamphlet, for the Honourable 
George, now Marquis Townshend, had it republished 
at London, with a preface of his own writing, as a 
Provost Ferguson of Ayr had done here. I had like- 
wise a very flattering note from Sir Gilbert Elliot, 
who moved for the Scotch militia in the next session 
of Parliament, for he wrote me that he had only 
spoken the substance of my pamphlet in the House, 
and. had got more praise for it from friends than for 
any speech he had formerly made ; but this did not 
happen till spring 1760„ when a bill having been 
ordered and brought in, was rejected. Robert Dun- 
das, then Lord Advocate, opposed it keenly, and it 
was said in party publications that this speech was the 
price paid for his being made President immediately 
after. But my belief is, that as political principles 
w^ere formed in the school of the disciples and fol- 
lowers of Sir Robert Walpole, whose ostensible motive, 
if not his governing one, was a fear of the family 
of Stuart, Dundas sincerely thought that arming 
Scotland was dangerous, though he rested his argu- 


ment chiefly on a less unpopular topic — viz. that a 
militia would ruin our rising manufactures. Fer- 
guson had published a very superior militia pamphlet 
in London a year or two before, in which all the 
genuine principles of that kind of national defence 
were clearly unfolded. The parties here were so 
warm at this time that it was necessary to conceal 
the names of authors, to which I had an additional 
motive, from a hint of Dr Cullen's ; for, supping one 
night with him, Dr Wight being only in company, 
after praising the pamphlet, he added that he did 
not know the author, and was glad of it, for he who 
occasionally saw so many of the superior orders, could 
assure us that those pamphlets, which were ascribed 
to clergymen, had raised a spirit of envy and jealousy 
of the clergy, which it would not be easy to stand. 
As, since the days of the faction about the tragedy of 
Douglas, three or four of us were supposed to be the 
authors of all the pamphlets which raised public 
attention, we sheltered ourselves in the crowd ; and it 
was a good while before the real writers were found 



1760-1763: AGE, 88-41. 








This year [1760] was the most important of my life, 
for before the end of it I was united with the most 
valuable friend and companion that any mortal ever 
possessed. My youth had been spent in a vain pur- 
suit ; for my first love, which I have mentioned as 
far back as the year 1735, had kept entire posses- 
sion till 1753, by means of her coquetry and my 
irresolution. She was of superior understanding as 
well as beauty. In this last she would have excelled 
most women of her time, had she not been the worst 
dancer in the world, which she could not be prevailed 
on to leave off, though her envious rivals laughed and 
rejoiced at her persevering folly. Though she had a 
bad voice and a bad ear, she was a great mistress of 
conversation, having both wit and humour, and, with 


an air of haughty prudery, had enough of coquetry 
both to attract and retain her lovers, of whom she 
had many. 

An early inclination she had to a young gentleman 
who was prevented from marrying her, and was soon 
after killed at the battle of Fontenoy, made her diffi- 
cult to please. I had never fairly put the question 
to her till about the year 1752, when she expressly 
refused me. This made me lessen the number of my 
visits, and made her restrain her coquetr}'. Soon 
after another came in my way, whose beauty and 
attractions made me forget the former, to whom, 
though she was inferior in seuse and even in beauty, 
yet being ten years younger, and having gaiety of 
spirit, I became deeply enamoured, and was in full 
belief that I had gained her affections, when I was 
informed that she had suddenly given her hand to a 
young man in every respect, except in birth perhaps, 
beneath her notice. In both those ladies I believe 
their vanity prevailed against affection. They could 
not think of being wife of a minister. The first 
attempted after this to ensnare me again, but I 
escaped. To have done with her, and to justify 
me — two gentlemen of my friends addressed her ve- 
hemently, Adam Ferguson, and Eobert Keith the 
ambassador. The first, who pleased her much, was 
rejected for the same reason I was : he had been a 
clergyman, and though in a more lucrative profession 
now, it was not higher. Her rejection of the second, 
I believe, was owing chiefly to principle. Though he 


was twenty-four years older than her, his rank was 
an attraction which balanced that ; but she could not 
bear the idea of quarrelling with his daughters, some 
of whom were her companions, and not much younger 
than herself At last, after having rejected rich and 
poor, young and old, to the number of half a score, 
she gave her hand, at forty-five, to the worst-tempered 
and most foolish of all her lovers, who had a bare 
competency, and which, added to her fortune, hardly 
made them independent. They led a miserable life, 
and parted ; soon after which he died, and she then 
lived respectably to an advanced age. 

I owed my good fortune to the friendship of John 
Home, who pointed out the young lady to me as a 
proper object of suit, without which I should never 
have attempted it, on account of the inequality of her 
age and mine, for she was then just past seventeen when 
I was thirty-eight. I was well acquainted with her 
sister and her as children, and saw that they were very 
remarkable ; the eldest, Sarah, for beauty and elegance, 
accompanied with good sense and a grave and reserved 
demeanour ; the second for an expressive and lively 
countenance, with a fine bloom, and hair of a dark flaxen 
colour. She had excellent parts, though uncultivated 
and uncommon, and a striking cheerfulness and viva- 
city of manner. After nine months' courtship, at first 
by silent and imperceptible approaches, and for three 
months by a close though unwarhke siege, I obtained 
her heart and hand, and no man ever made a happier 
conquest ; for, with a superior understanding and 


great discernment for her age, she had an ease and 
propriety of manners which made her to be well re- 
ceived, and indeed much distinguished, in every com- 
pany. Having lost her father and mother when her 
sister was five years of age and she only two — the 
father, on Christmas-day 1 744, and the mother on the 
same festival in 1745, of the smallpox — each of their 
trustees (for they were co-heiresses of Heathpool in 
Northumberland, Kirknewton parish, then only £180 
per annum), ]\Ir Collingwood of Unthank, cousin-ger- 
man of their mother, took the eldest under his care ; 
and Mr William Home, minister of Polwarth, who had 
married their father's sister, Mary Roddam, had the 
charge of the youngest. By this division, Sarah, the 
eldest, had seemingly many advantages above her 
sister, for she lived with superior people, who fre- 
quented, and were indeed allied to, the best families in 
their county, attended the best schools in Newcastle, 
and was one year in the first boarding-school in Edin- 
burgh ; and accordingly turned out an elegant and 
well-bred woman, speaking perfectly good English, 
without the roughness peculiar to the local dialect, 
and was admired, courted, and respected wherever she 
went. Yet Mary, the younger, with no advantage 
but that of living with an aunt of superior under- 
standing and great worth, though much uneducated, 
and having only one year of the Edinburgh boarding- 
school, soon had her mind enlaro;ed and her talents 
improved by some instruction, and the conversation 
of those who frequented us, insomuch that in not 


more than one year after our marriage, she appeared 
not only without any seeming defect in her educa- 
tion, but like a person of high endowments. In- 
deed, the quickness of her parts and the extent of 
her understanding were surprising, and her talent 
both in speaking and writing, and in delicacy of taste, 
truly as admirable as any woman I ever knew. Add 
to this that she was noble and generous in the highest 
degree, compassionate even to weakness, and, if her 
friends were in distress, totally forgetful and negligent 
of herself. I do not think it is possible I could derive 
greater satisfaction from any circumstance in human 
life than I did from the high approbation which was 
given to my choice by the very superior men who 
were my closest and most discerning friends, such as 
Ferguson, Eobertson, Blair, and Bannatine, not merely 
by words, but by the open, respectful, and confidential 
manner in which they conversed with her. 

On the 14th of October was made the important 
change in my situation, in John Home's house, in 
Alison's Square, when he was absent at Lord Eglin- 
toun's, who had become a favourite of the Earl of 
Bute's, very much by John's means. He was, indeed, 
a very able as well as an agreeable man, though his 
education had been sadly neglected. We had sundry 
visits next day, and among the foremost came Sir 
Harry Erskine and Mr Alexander Wedderburn. I 
was not then much acquainted with the first, but 
as he was older than me by several years, and 
Fanny Wedderburn, of whom he was then in full 


pursuit, was as much older than my young wife, I 
guessed that the real motive of this visit, as my friend 
Wedderburn seldom did anything without a reason, 
was to see how such an unequal couple would look on 
the day after their marriage. 

We remained in Edinburgh till Tuesday the 21st 
of October, when Baron Grant's lady came in her 
coach to carry us to Castlesteads, some necessary 
repairs in the manse not being yet finished. There I 
had the pleasure to find that my wife could acquit, 
herself equally well in all companies, and had nothing 
to wish for in the article of behaviour. We went home 
on Saturday morning, and the Grants followed us to 
dinner, and were met by the Cardonnels. 

While I was busy with this important change in 
my domestic state, I was applied to by a friend to 
write a satirical pamphlet in my ironical style against 
the opposers of the Scotch JVIilitia Bill, which had been 
rejected in the preceding session. Being too much 
engaged to attempt anything of that kind at the time, 
I proposed that it should be intrusted to Adam Fer- 
guson, then living at Inveresk, preparing his aca- 
demical lectures. My friend answered that he was 
excellent at serious works, but could turn nothing 
into ridicule, as he had no humour : I answered, that 
he did not know him sufficiently, but advised him to 
go and try him, as he would undertake nothing that 
he was not able to execute. This happened about the 
month of August, and Ferguson having undertaken it, 
executed that little work called " Sister Peg," in the 


style of Dr Arbutlinot's " John Bull/' which excited 
both admiration and animosity. The real author was 
carefully concealed, though it was generally ascribed 
to me, as I had written two small pieces in the same 
ironical style. The public had no doubt but that it 
was the work of one out of four of us, if not the 
joint work of us all. The secret was well kept by at 
least ten or a dozen males and females. This pamph- 
let occasioned a very ludicrous scene between David 
. Hume and Dr Jardine, who was in the secret. David 
w^as a great blab, and could conceal nothing that he 
thought for the honour of his friends, and therefore it 
had been agreed to tell him of none of our produc- 
tions, except such as might have been published at 
the Cross. He sent for Jardine, whom he first sus- 
pected of being the author, who denying his capacity 
for such a work, he fixed on me (never dreaming of 
Ferguson) ; and when Jardine pretended ignorance, or 
refused to gratify him, he told him he had written it 
himself in an idle hour, and desired Jardine to men- 
tion him as the author everywhere, that it might not 
fall on some of us, who were not so able to bear it. 
This I could not have believed, had not David himself 
written me a letter to that purpose, which I shall 
transcribe in the margin.'"' 

His Majesty George H. died on the 25th of Octo- 
ber, which put the whole nation in mourning. John 
Home came to town for a night or two, on his way to 

* The letter will be found in the Life and Correspondence of David 
ilume, ii. 88. — Ed. 


London, with Lord Eglinton, when began his great- 
ness, for he might really have been said to have been 
the second man in the kinordom while Bute remained 
in power, which influence he used not to his own 
advancement to wealth or power — for he never asked 
anything for himself, and, strange to t^U, never was 
offered anything by his patron — but for the service of 
his friends, or of those who, by flattery and appli- 
cation, acquired the title of such, for he was easily 
deluded by pretences, especially to those of romantic 
valour. The celebrated Colonel Johnston, afterwards 
Governor of Minorca, owed to him his being restored 
to the line of preferment of which the late King had 
deprived him, for his insolent behaviour to a country 
gentleman in the playhouse ; and George Johnstone 

Towards the end of December I went to Pol war th 
with Mr Home, my wife's uncle, and one of her 
guardians, and went to Unthank to visit Mr Colling- 
wood the other, with Forrester the attorney, to settle 
our affairs — a trusty fellow, who had already made a 
large fortune, and, what amused me much, taken the 
tone of a discontented patriot so strongly against the 
ministry of his Grace, that they were obhged in a 
year or two to let him have a share in the manage- 
ment. Alexander Collingwood of Unthank, Esq., the 
cousin-genuan of my wife's mother, was weak and 

* The former, James Johnston, became subsequently Governor of Quebec. 
George Johnstone was CJovemor of West Florida, and author of ThouyhU 
on our Acquigitiona in the East Indies. — £i>. 

410 THE wife's connections. 

vainglorious, proud of his family, and in all, and 
above all, of his wife, whom he obliged us to visit, 
and whom we found very handsome and very clever 
— too much so for the squire. 

We returned by Langton, as we had come, where 
lived Alexander Davidson and his wife — two worthy 
people, who had acquired an independent estate by 
farming, which had not been frequently done at that 
time. [HeathpoolJ, our estate, lies three miles from 
Langton, south-west, up Beumont Water, and is a 
beautiful highland place. I had not been absent 
above five or six days, and found my wife at my 
father's, where she was the joy and delight of the old 
folks. At that time, indeed, she was irresistible ; for 
to youth and beauty she added a cheerful frankness 
and cordiality in her manner, which, joined with an 
agreeable elocution and lively wit, attracted all who 
saw her, which was not relished by my old flame, 
who, in the midst of forced praise, attempted a species 
of detraction, which was completely foiled by the 
good-humoured indiflference, or rather contempt, with 
which it was received. This young lady, of uncom- 
mon parts and understanding, but a degree of vanity 
on account of trifling or imaginary qualities, ended 
her career at last in a very exemplary manner, as I 
have before stated. 

Early in this year (1761) my wife's elder sister. 
Miss Eoddam, paid us a visit, and remained with us 
till she was married. She was a beautiful and elegant 
young woman, somewhat taller than her sister, and 

THE wife's C'ON^'ECTIONS. 411 

was a finer woman ; but she was grave and reserved ; 
and though she had good sense, and was perfectly- 
hearty, she was not only inferior to her sister in point 
of understanding, but in that lively and striking 
expression of feeling and sentiment which never failed 
to attract. 

They were knit together with the most sisterly 
love, in which, however, the younger surpassed, not 
having one selfish corner in her whole soul, and being 
at all times willing to sacrifice her life for those she 
loved. This young lady soon attracted our friend Dr 
Adam Ferguson's warmest addresses, to the ardour of 
which she put an end as soon as he explained himself, 
for, \viih. a frankness and dignity becoming her cha- 
racter, she assured him that, had she not been invio- 
lably engaged to another gentleman, she would not 
have hastily rejected his addresses, as his character 
and manner were very agreeable to her, and therefore 
prayed him to discontinue his suit to her, as she could 
not listen to him on this subject, but would be happy 
in his friendship, and the continuance of a society so 
pleasing to her. With this he reluctantly complied, 
but frequented our house as much as ever till she was 

The o;entleman she was eno-ao-ed to was John Eras- 
mus Blackett, Esq., the youngest brother of Sir 
Edward Blackett, Bart., of Malfen, in Northumber- 
land — a man of large fortune, who represented the 
elder branch of the Blackett family, then in Sir 
Walter Blackett Coverley, who was the nephew of 

412 THE wife's connections. 

the late Sir AVilliam Blackett of Newcastle. John E. 
Blackett was a very handsome young man, of about 
thirty, who had been bred at Liverpool with Sir [ ] 
Cunliffe, and was now settled partner with Mr Alder- 
man Simson, an eminent coal-dealer in Newcastle. 
John Blackett was called Erasmus after Erasmus Lewis, 
who was secretary to Lord Oxford in Queen Anne's 
time, and an intimate friend of his father's, John 
Blackett, Esq. of [ ], in Yorkshire, who never 

was baronet, having died before his uncle, Sir Edward 
Blackett. John Erasmus was at this time a captain 
and paymaster in his brother's regiment of North- 
umberland Militia, lately raised, and quartered at Ber- 
wick since March or April 1760. As Miss Eoddam 
was not of age till March, the marriage was delayed till 
after that time, when she could dispose of her moiety 
of the estate. As this did not shake Miss Roddam, 
that quieted a suspicion which some of her friends en- 
tertained that he meant to draw off. But he came and 
visited us in the end of January, when every shadow 
of doubt of his fulfilling his engagement was dissipated. 

I was only afraid that a man so imperfectly edu- 
cated as he had been, and of ordinary talents, could 
not long predominate in the breast of a young lady 
who had sense and sensibility enough to relish the 
conversation of the high-minded and enlightened phil- 
osopher, who had enough of the world, however, to be 
entitled to the name of the Polite Philosopher. 

I returned with Mr Blackett in the beginning of 
February to Berwick and Wooler, where I met the 

THE wife's COXNECnONS. 413 

trustees, where the estate was let to Kalph Compton, 
the second son of our former tenant, for the usual 
term, and rose from £180 per annum to £283. Before 
we parted, ^Ir Blackett settled with me that he would 
come to us in April, and complete his engagement. He 
went on from Alnwick, and I to the roup at Wooler. 

He came, accordingly, at the time appointed, from 
Berwick, attended by a brother captain, Edward 
Adams, whose mother was a ColHngwood, a grand- 
aunt of the young ladies. They came first to my 
house for a day, and went to Edinburgh, where we 
followed them two days after, where the yoimg couple 
were married by j\Ir Car of the English chapel, as 
they were both Episcopalians. 

The day after the marriage Blackett gave us a 
handsome dinner at Fortune's, for which he only 
charged half-a-crown a-head, and said he then never 
charged more for the best dinner of two courses and 
a dessert which he could set down. Mr Ferguson 
dined with us. Next day they came to ^lusselburgh 
for two days, and then departed for Newcastle through 
Berwick, where the regiment still was. There was 
one thing very remarkable of that regiment, which, 
though six himdred strong, from all parts of the county, 
yet lost not one man for one year and four months. 
So much for the healthiness of Berwick. 

My youngest sister, Janet, a beautiful, elegant, and 
pleasing young woman, was married at London, where 
she had gone to be with her sister, on August 30th, 
1760, with Captain Thomas Bell, a nephew of Provost 

414 THE wife's connections. 

Bell's, who had been captain of a trading vessel in the 
Mediterranean, and having been attacked by a Spanish 
privateer, took her after a short engagement, and got 
£1000 as his share of the prize. He was a very sen- 
sible, clever man, much esteemed by his companions, 
and had become an insurance broker. 

On the first of July this year my wife brought me 
a daughter, and my sister gave a son to Thomas Bell 
on the 6th of the same month. He was the first of 
eight sons she had, seven of whom were running, of 
whom Carlyle, whom we took in 1782 at two years 
old, is the youngest, who are all alive in 1804, and eight 
daughters all well married, and have many children. 

His Grace Archibald Duke of Argyle died early in 
spring, as suddenly almost, and at the same age of 
seventy-seven, as His Majesty, George H., had done 
in October preceding. On this occasion Lord Bute 
wrote a very kind letter to Lord Milton, the friend 
and sub-minister of Argyle, lamenting his loss, and 
assuring him that there should be no change in respect 
to him. Adam Ferguson was with Milton when he 
received this letter, to whom he gave it after reading 
it, saying, "Is this man sincere'?'' to which Ferguson, 
on perusal, "I have no doubt that he was so when he 
wrote it." Milton declined being longer employed ; 
and it was well, for he soon fell into that decline of 
mental powers which lasted till his death in 1766. 
Lord Bute tried to make his brother, Stuart M'Kenzie, 
succeed Milton, but he neither had talents nor incli- 
nation. Baron Mure, who was a man of business and 

THE wife's coxnectioxs. 415 

of sound sense, was employed while Lord Bute was in 

In this year I lost my grandfather and grandmother 
Robison, truly respectable people in their day. He 
died first, at the age of eighty-six, and she, who was 
half a year younger than him, gave way to fate just 
six months after him. 

When my wife was perfectly recovered, I foimd 
myself under the necessity of- carrying her to New- 
castle to visit her sister, to whom she was most 
tenderly attached. Mr Blackett was then living in 
Pilgrim Street, a small but very pleasant house near 
the gate. This was in the beginning of October, when 
the judges were in town, and a great crowd of com- 
pany. Mr Blackett's brother Henry, the clergyman, 
was then \s*ith him, who was an Oxonian, a good 
scholar, and a very agreeable man of the world. Wo 
were visited by all their friends in Newcastle and 
in the neighbourhood, and made many agreeable ac- 
quaintance. Sir Walter Blackett was one who lived 
in a fine old house, directly opposite to Mr Blackett. 
He was a very genteel, fine-looking man, turned of 
forty, who had not been happy with his lady, the 
daughter (natural) of his uncle. Sir WiUiam Blackett, 
who had left him and her heirs of his estate, provided 
they intermarried. He fulfilled the will most cordi- 
ally, for he was in love with his cousin ; but she 
reluctantly, because she did not care for him. By 
report she was of superior understanding to him ; for 
he was not a man of remarkable parts, but strong in 

416 THE wife's connections. 

friendship, liberality, 'and public spirit ; and lie bad a 
great fortune, not less than £20,000, with which he 
amply gratified his own disposition. He was ostenta- 
tious, and fond of popularity, which he gained by his 
public charities ; but lived to lose it entirely. He 
was long member from the town of Newcastle, but 
never would ask any favours of Ministers, while in 
the mean time he brought in a clever colleague, a Mr 
Eidley, who got all the favours from Ministers, having 
both Sir Walter's interest and his own, by which the 
credit of the former with his townsmen was much 

Our sister, Mrs Blackett, luckily proved a great 
favourite of Sir Walter's, as his cousin, John Erasmus, 
had been before, to whom he gave the payment of his 
lead mines, which being very productive, was a place 
of profit. 

Mr Collingwood of Chirton was another valuable 
acquaintance : he was Eecorder of the town, and a 
law^yer of great ability. Though but the second 
brother, he had acquired the family estate in conse- 
quence of the dissipation of the elder, who was repre- 
sentative of an ancient family, and whose son is Vice- 
Admiral Collingwood, the husband of Mrs Blackett's 
eldest daughter. The Recorder had acquired Chirton 
by marriage ; for a laird of Roddam, one of the five 
families in the county who were proprietors before 
the Conquest, having been an attorney at Newcastle, 
had purchased the estate of Chirton, which he left to 
his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, one of wliom 

THE wife's connections. 417 

married a Mr Hilton Lawson, and the other Mr Col- 
lino-wood, while the ancient manor of Eoddam went 
by entail to his nephew, Admiral Roddam. There 
were two houses at Chirton, only divided from each 
other by a road ; and by far the best was the possession 
of Mary, the eldest sister, and her husband Lawson, 
which had, in the end of the 17th century, belonged 
to Archibald, the first Duke of Argyle, who had built 
or repaired it as a convenient place between London 
and Inverary on his journey to and from the capital. 
It was at this house that he died, on one of those 
journeys. This house is now the possession of Adam 
de Cardonnel Lawson, Esq., which was left to his 
mother, Ann Hilton, by her cousin Hilton Lawson ; 
because if her brother, a Rev. Mr Hilton, had not 
died, he would have fallen heir to that and several 
-other estates of Mr Lawson's. This gentleman is the 
son and heir of my old friend Mansfield de Cardonnel, 
formerly mentioned.* 

Those families adopted our two wives as their rela- 
tions, as their father was a descendant of the family 
of Roddam, and their mother of that of Collingwood 
of Unthank, who was related to both. 

At this period there were not many conversible 
gentlemen in Newcastle, which made one value Mr 
Collingwood the more ; for the men were in general 
very ill educated, while the ladies, who were bred in 
the south, by their appearance and manners, seemed 
to be very unequally yoked. The clergy at the 

* See above, p. 219. 
2 D 


time were almost all underbred, there being only- 
one vicar in the town, and the rest only curates or 
lecturers. Sometimes a neighbouring clergyman of 
university education accepted of a lectureship for the 
sake of living in town in the winter, though the 
salaries were no more than £100 ; yet, had it not 
been for the ladies, the state of society would have 
then been disagreeable. For many years past it has 
been totally different. 

At a grand dancing assembly our ladies were gra- 
tij&ed as much as they could be, for Mrs Blackett had 
the honour of dancing with the Duke of Portland, 
and her sister with Viscount Torrington, and had the 
approbation of a very numerous company for their 
genteel appearance and good looks. 

His Grace had come down to take care of his par- 
liamentary interest, having great estates in the north- 
ern counties. He was opposed in Cumberland by Sir 
James Lowther, who, after a ten years' war, drove the 
beaten Duke, with infinite loss of money, out of the 
north. Lowther went off conqueror, but more de- 
tested than any man alive, as a shameless political 
sharper, a domestic bashaw, and an intolerable tyrant 
over his tenants and dependents. John Home cried 
him up as the bravest and most generous of men ; 
and he flattered and obliged John because he had the 
ear of Lord Bute, whose eldest daughter, an amiable 
and patient woman, he had married and abused. Home 
prevailed with him to prefer George Johnstone, the 
Governor of Florida, to Admiral Elliot, for one of his 


seats in Parliament, though he was by no means the 
best man of the two ; but what was still more flatter- 
ing to John, in two duels he was involved in (neither 
of which, however, took place), he took him for his 
second. John cried him up for every good quality, 
while Ferguson, who had seen him often, said he 
thought him a very stupid man. Bob Hume, who 
lived nine months in his house in London, attending 
his cousin. Sir Michael Fleming, with whom he went 
to Groningen, thought him a capricious, and some- 
times a brutal, head of a family. Robert Adam told 
me many stories of him, which made me conclude 
that he was truly a madman, though too rich to be 

As Mrs C. had never been in that country before, 
we made several excursions in the neighbourhood, 
such as to Tynemouth and Durham; and on our return 
home visited the Roddams, though there were only 
there the old lady and her two daughters. The Ad- 
miral, who succeeded his elder brother in a few years, 
built himself a handsome house, and improved the 
place. He had three wives, but no children. 

In the beginning of 1 762 was instituted the famous 
club called " The Poker," which lasted in great vigour 
down to the year 1784. About the third or fourth 
meetinor, -v^e thouorht of givino; it a name that would be 
of uncertain meaning, and not be so directly offensive 
as that of Militia Club to the enemies of that insti- 
tution. Adam Ferguson fell luckily on the name of 
" Poker," which we perfectly understood, and was at 


the same time an enigma to the public* This club 
consisted of all the literati of Edinburgh and its 
neighbourhood, most of whom had been members of 
the Select Society, except very few indeed who ad- 
hered to the enemies of militia, together with a great 
many country gentlemen, who, though not always re- 
sident in town, yet were zealous friends to a Scotch 
militia, and warm in their resentment on its being 
refused to us, and an invidious line drawn between 
Scotland and England. The establishment was frugal 
and moderate, as that of all clubs for a public purpose 
ought to be. We met at our old landlord's of the 
Diversorium, now near the Cross, the dinner on the 
table soon after two o'clock, at one shilling a-head, 
the wine to be confined to sherry and claret, and the 
reckoning to be called at six o'clock. After the first 
fifteen, who were chosen by nomination, the members 
were to be chosen by ballot, two black balls to exclude 
the candidate. There was to be a new preses chosen 
at every meeting. William Johnstone, Esq., now Sir 
William Pulteney, was chosen secretary of the club, 
with a charge of all publications that might be thought 
necessary by him, and two other members with whom 
he was to consult. In a laughing humour, Andrew 
Crosbie was chosen Assassin, in case any officer of that 
sort should be needed ; but David Hume was added 
as his Assessor, w^ithout whose assent nothing should 
be done, so that between jplus and minus there was 
likely to be no bloodshed. 

* An instrument for stirring up the militia question. — Ed. 


This club continued to be in great perfection for 
six or seven years, because the expense was moderate, 
while every member was pleased with the entertain- 
ment as well as the company. During these seven 
years, a very constant attendant told me that he never 
observed even an approach to inebriety in any of the 
members. At the end of that period, by means of an 
unlucky quarrel between one or two of the members 
and our landlord, who was an absurd fool, the club 
left his house and went to Fortune's, the most fashion- 
able tavern in town, where the dinners were more 
showy, but not better, and the wines only dearer ; but 
the day's expense soon came to three times as much 
as the ordinary biU at Thomas Nicholsons, which 
made many of the members, not the least conversible, 
lessen the number of days of attendance ; and what 
was worse, as the club had long drawn the attention 
of the public, many members were admitted whose 
minds were not congenial with the old members. 
When this chancre seemed to be in danger of essen- 
tially hurting the club, a few of us had recourse to a 
plan for keeping the old members together, which was 
that of establishinor a new club, to be called the " Tues- 
day," to meet on that day, and dine together, without 
deserting the Poker. This lasted for two years at Som- 
mer's tavern ; for we did not go to Nicholson's, for 
fear of giving offence. In the mean time, the Poker 
dwindled away by the death or desertion of many of 
the members who had lately been brought in, and 
then we broke up the Tuesday, and frequented the 


Poker. I found in the hands of Ferguson a list of this 
club, taken in 1 774, and wrote by Commissioner James 
Edgar, to which, in other hands, were added the new 
members as they were elected. I have seen no list pre- 
vious to this; but from 1762 to '84, sundry members 
must have died, two of whom I remember — viz., Dr 
Jardine and Ambassador Keith ; Dr Gregory, too, might 
be added, but he did not attend above once or twice. 
The amount of the whole on this list is sixty-six.* 
When James Edgar was in Paris with Sir Laurence 
Dundas, his cousin, during the flourishing state of this 
club, he was asked by D'Alembert to go with him to 
their club of literati at Paris; to which he answered 
that he had no curiosity to visit them, as he had a 
club at Edinburgh, with whom he dined weekly, com- 
posed, he believed, of the ablest men in Europe. Simi- 
lar to this was a saying of Princess Dashcoff, when 
disputing one day with me at Buxton about the supe- 
riority of Edinburgh, as a residence, to most other 
cities in Europe, when, having alleged sundry parti- 
culars in which I thought we excelled, none of which 
she would admit of — " No," says she, " but I know one 
article which you have not mentioned, in which I 
must give you the precedency ; which is, that of all the 
sensible men I have met with in my travels through 
Europe, yours at Edinburgh are the most sensible." 

* The list has been already printed in the Sup])loment to Tytler's Life of 
Karnes, with some inaccurate extracts from Carlyle's MS. This is tlie 
best extant account of this curious institution, and nothing of value could 
be added to it even from the minutes of its proceedings, which the Editor 
saw in the hands of the late Sii- Adam Ferguson. — Ed, 


Let me add one testimony more, that of the Honourable 
General James Murray, Lord Elibank's brother, a man 
of fashion and of the world. Being at the Cross (the 
'Change) one day, just before the hour of dinner, which 
by that time was prolonged to three o'clock, he came 
up to me, and asked me if I had yet met with his 
brother Elibank. I answered, " No ; was he expecting 
him in town that day 1" "Yes," said he ; " he promised 
to come, and introduce me to the Poker." " If that is 
all your business," replied I, " and you will accept of 
me as your introductor, I shall be glad of the honour ; 
and perhaps your brother may come late, as he some- 
times does." He accepted, and the club happened to 
be very well attended. When we broke up, between 
seven and eight o'clock, it being suijjmer, and I was 
proceeding down street to take my horse to Mussel- 
burgh, he came up with me, and exclaimed, " Ah, Doc- 
tor! I never was so much disappointed in all my life as 
at your club, for I expected to sit silent and listen to 
a parcel of pedants descanting on learned subjects out 
of my range of knowledge ; but instead of that, I 
have met with an agreeable, polite, and lively com- 
pany of gentlemen, in whose conversation I have 
joined and partaken with the greatest delight." As 
Murray was a very acute and sensible man, I took this 
as a very high compliment to the manners as well as 
the parts of our club. 

In April this year IVIrs C. went to Newcastle, 
to attend her sister, who was to lie-in of her first 
child. I went with her to Langton in Northum- 

424 LOED elibank's adventures. 

berland, and returned home, Mrs B. having met her 

I attended the Assembly of which I was a member, 
for the first time out of my course, when Dr Trail of 
Glasgow was Moderator. He put upon me the three 
addresses which were sent up from this Assembly to 
the King, the Queen, and the Princess-Dowager of 
Wales, on the marriage of their Majesties, which were 
thought to be well composed, especially that to His 
Majesty. This even met with the approbation of the 
Commissioner, though not pleased with me, when on 
one of the preceding years I had helped to raise bad 
humour against him for inviting Whitefield to dine 
at his table, and another year he had entertained [a 
design] of dissolving the Assembly before the second 
Sunday. To be sure, the business before us was but 
slack, yet had we allowed the precedent to take place, 
we should never have recovered that Sunday more. 

On the last day of this Assembly I learned, to my 
great joy, that my friend Dr William Wight was 
presented by the King to the vacant chair of History 
at Glasgow. As he was my near relation, his ad- 
vancement, in which I had a chief hand, was very 
pleasing ; and as he was the most agreeable of all 
men, his coming near me promised much enjoyment. 

Towards the end of June I was earnestly requested 
by William Johnstone, Esq., now Pulteney, to accom- 
pany his uncle, Lord Elibank, on some jaunt, to take 
him from home, as he had just lost his lady, and was 
in bad spiiits. I agreed, on condition that he would 


take the road wliich I wLshecI to go, wliich was to 
Newcastle, to bring home Mrs Carlyle. This was 
agreed to, and I went to him in a day or two, and we 
set out on the 27th of June ; and as he travelled 
with his own horses, we did not arrive there till the 
29th to dinner. My fellow-traveller was gloomy, and 
lamented his wife very much, who had been a beauty 
in her youth, and was a Dutch lady of fortune, the 
widow of Lord North and Grey. He himself was now 
turned sixty, and she was ten years older. She was 
a weak woman, but very observant of him, and seemed 
proud of his wit and fine parts, and had no uneasi- 
ness about his infidelities, except as they affected his 
prospects in a future w^orld. She had a large jointure, 
which he lost, which added to his affliction. But she 
had brought a large sum besides, and, falling in with 
his humour of saving, from being a very poor lord 
she had made him very wealthy. When he arrived 
at Newcastle, he was at first overcome with the sight 
,of my wife, who was well acquainted with his lady; 
but her sympathy, and the gentle manners of her sister, 
attracted his notice. He had by nature very great 
sensibility ; he admired, and had once loved, his wife, 
whom he was conscious he had injured. In this 
tender state of vexation, mixed with grief and peni- 
tence, he met at Newcastle with a very handsome 
young lady. Miss Maria Fielding, a niece of Sir John 
Fielding, whose manners, softened by his recent loss 
and melancholy appearance, so much subdued him, 
that he fell suddenlv in love, and was ashamed and 


afflicted with his own feelings, falling into a kind of a 
hysterical fit. Mrs Carlyle told me afterwards that 
she had made him confess this, which he said he did 
because he saw she had found him out. Hearing 
that some of his friends were at Harrogate, he left us 
on the fourth or fifth day, and went there : at this 
place there was plenty of gay company, and play, and 
every sort of amusement for an afflicted widower, so 
that his lordship soon forgot his lady and her jointure, 
and Maria Fielding, and all his cares and sorrow, and 
became the gayest man in the whole house before the 
month of July elapsed. 

As we were to go round by Dumfries to visit my 
sister Dickson, who had fallen into a decline, and was 
drinking goats' whey in the neighbourhood, we pro- 
posed to take the road to Carlisle from Newcastle ; 
and Mrs Carlyle not being very strong, we got Mr 
Blackett's chaise for the first day's journey. After you 
have got ten or twelve miles west from Newcastle, the 
country becomes dreary and desolate, without a single 
interesting object but what employs the curious re- 
search of the antiquarian — the remains of that Roman 
wall which was constructed to prevent the inroads of 
the barbarians on the Eoman provinces or the de- 
fenceless natives. The wall in many parts is wonder- 
fully entire ; and while it demonstrates the art and 
industry of the Romans, brings full in our view the 
peace and security we now enjoy under a government 
that unites the interest and promotes the common 
prosperity of the whole island. We slept at Glenwhilt, 

VISITS. 427 

a paltry place, and got to Brampon early next day, 
but had to send to Carlisle for a chaise, as I did not 
choose to carry Mr Blackett's any further. This place, 
as is noted in an account of Dr Wight, is remarkable 
for the birth of three persons in the same year, or 
nearly so, who got as high in their respective profes- 
sions as they possibly could — Dr Thomas, a son of 
the rector of the parish, who came to be Bishop of 
Eochester ; ^Ir Wallace, a son of the attorney, who 
arrived at the dignity of Attorney-General, and would 
have been Chancellor had he lived ; and Dr William 
Wight, the son of the dissenting minister, who lived 
to be Professor of Divinity in Glasgow. 

It was late in the afternoon before the chaise came 
from Carlisle, for which I had sent, so that we not 
only breakfasted but dined here, when the cheapness, 
not less than the goodness, of our fare was surprising, 
as 4s. 6d. w^as the whole expense for Mrs Carlyle's 
dinner and mine, and Blackett's servant, and two 
horses, mine having gone on to Carlisle. The en- 
virons of Carlisle are beautiful, and Mrs Carlyle was 
much pleased with them. The road from thence to 
Dummies is through a level country, but not very 
interesting, being at that time imimproved, and but 
thinly inhabited. The approach to Dumfries on every 
side is pleasing. 

]My sister Dickson was down at Newabbey, ten 
miles below Dumfries, on the west side of the Nith, for 
the sake of goats' whey. We went down next day, 
but found her far gone in a decline, a disorder which 


had been so fatal to our family. She was well ac- 
quainted with Mrs Carlyle's character before she met 
her, which she did with the most tender and cheerful 
affection. Her appearance, she told me, even surpassed 
all she had heard ; and for the two days they remained 
together, there never was a closer union of two supe- 
rior minds, softened by tenderness and adorned with 
every female virtue. It w^as difl&cult to part them, 
as they were sure they would meet no more : many 
confident promises were made, however, to lighten as 
much as possible the melancholy parting, which my 
sister performed with such angelic gaiety as led Mrs 
Carlyle into the belief that she thought herself in little 
danger. I knew the contrary. One thing she did — 
which was, to confirm me in the opinion of what an ex- 
cellent mind it was to which I was united ; but this 
needed no confirmation. After this scene, Dumfries and 
the company of our other friends was irksome, so we 
made haste to meet my mother, who had taken the road 
home from Penrith, bavins; been so lono- absent from 
my father. We found our little girl in perfect health. 
It was this year, in September, that on the death 
of Hyndman I succeeded him in the place of Almoner 
to the King, an office of no great emolument, but a 
mark of distinction, and very convenient, as my stipend 
was small, for I kept my resolution to defer a prosecu- 
tion for an augmentation till my patron was of age. 
I had reason to expect this office, not only by means 
of John Home, now having much of Lord Bute's 
ear, but from the friendship of Sir Gilbert Elliot and 


Sir Harry Erskine, who were friends of Lord Bute. 
Charles Townshend, too, had made application at this 
time, though he failed me before. 

The death of Hyndman was a disappointment to 
Robertson in the management of the Church, which he 
had now in view. By his preference of Hyndman, 
he had provoked Dick, who was a far better man, and 
proved a very formidable and vigorous opponent ; 
for he joined the Wild or High-flying party, and by 
moderating their councils and defendinor their mea- 
sures as often as he could, made them more embar- 
rassing than if they had been allowed to follow their 
own measures. Hyndman was a clever fellow, a good 
preacher, and a good debater in church courts. Cum- 
ing had adopted him as his second, and had helped 
to bring him from Colinton to the West Church. 
Being unfortunate in his family, he had taken to 
tippling and high politics. He finished his constitu- 
tion, and became apoplectic. Cuming and he had 
quarrelled, and Eobertson, without adverting to his 
undone constitution* 

It was in about the end of this year that my sister 
Bell, and her two children then born — William and 
Jessie — came down to pay my father and mother a 
visit, and stayed between their houses and ours till 
the month of June 1763. 

* The sentence is left unfinished : the intention seems to have been to 
say, that Robertson made him second in command to himself as leader uf 
the Church- Hyndman is referred to in Chap. III., and on several other 
occasions. A notice of him will be found in Morren's Annals of the General 
Assembly, ii. 402. — Ed. 



Thomas Cheap, consul at Madeira, my friend, came 
to Edinburgh in the beginning of the year, to visit his 
friends and look out for a wife. After having been 
plied by two or three, he at last fixed on Grace Stuart, 
a very pretty girl, and carried her. This pleased his 
sister well, who was always looking after quality ; for 
her mother, Lady Ann, was a sister of the Earl of 
Murray. This courtship occasioned several pleasant 
meeting's of private parties at Cbrystal's, a tavern in 
the parish, where Dr Robert Finlay, now possessor of 
Drummore, displayed such qualities as he had; for he 
was master of one of the feasts, having lost a dinner 
and a ball to the Consul's sister. Ann CoUingwood 
made a good figure in the dance, but Grace CoUing- 
wood surpassed her. 

About the end of April, my sister, and my wife, and 
[I, paid] a visit to our friends in Glasgow, where we 
were most cordially received by my old friends, Mr 
Dreghorn and sundry other merchants, who were 
connected with Mr Bell in Airdrie, particularly Eobin 
Boyle and the Dunlops. Dr Adam Smith and Dr 
Black, as well as Dr Wight, were now here, though 
the last had not yet got into his house. We had 
many agreeable meetings with them, as well as with 
our mercantile friends. It was there that I saw No. 
45, when just published by Wilkes, of which Smith 
said, on hearing it read, " Bravo ! this fellow will 
either be hanged in six months, or he will get Lord 


Bute impeached." Supping with him in a company of 
twenty-two, when a certain yoimg peer was present, 
after a little while I whispered him that I wondered 
they had set up this man so high, as I thought him 
mighty foolish. *' We know that perfectly," said he ; 
" but he is the only lord at our college." To this day 
there were not above two or three gentlemen's chaises 
in Glasgow, nor hackney-coaches, nor men-servants 
to attend at table; but they were not the worse 

Soon after we returned home in the beonnnino- of 
May, my sister and her children returned to London, 
but took the way by Dumfries to visit their friends 

Dr Robertson was Moderator of the Assembly this 
year, and being now Principal of the University of 
Edinburgh, had it in his power to be member of 
Assembly every year. He had lost Hyndman, but he 
had now adopted Dr John Drysdale, who had married 
his cousin, one of the Adams, a far better man in 
every respect ; for he had good talents for business, 
though his invincible modesty prevented his speak- 
ing in public. He now managed the Highland corre- 
spondence, and became extremely popular in that divi- 
sion of the Church. Robertson had now Dr Dick as 
his stated opponent, who would have been very for- 
midable had he not been tied up by his own principles, 
which were firm in support of presentations, and by 
his not having it in his power to be a member of 
Assembly more than once in four or five years, on 


account of the strict rotation observed by tlie Presby- 
tery of Edinburgh. 

Andrew Crosbie, the advocate, was another constant 
and able opponent of Dr Robertson and his friends, 
though hampered a little by the law of patronage. 
His maternal uncle. Lord Tinwald, the Justice-Clerk, 
who was his patron, being dead, he wished to gain 
employment by pleasing the popular side. Fairbairn, 
the minister of Dumbarton, was another opponent — 
brisk and foul-mouthed, who stuck at nothing, and 
was endowed with a rude popular eloquence ; but he 
was a mere hussar, who had no steady views to direct 
him. He was a member of every Assembly, and spoke 
in every cause, but chiefly for plunder — that is, ap- 
plause and dinners — for he did not seem to care 
whether he lost or won. Robertson's soothing man- 
ner prevented his being hard-mouthed with him. 

Dr Robertson had for his assistants [not only] all the 
Moderate party in Edinburgh and the neighbourhood, 
but many clergymen annually from the most distant 
Synods and Presbyteries ; who, now that the debates 
of the Assembly were carried on with freedom, though 
still with great order, were very good speakers and able 
debaters. There were very few of the lay elders of 
much consideration who opposed him ; and Henry 
Dundas (Lord Melville), who was in himself a host, 
coming next year to our aid, [added greatly to our 
strength, and made the business fashionable, for till 
then] many of the superior elders deserted the Assem- 
bly, insomuch that I remember one year, that when a 

HARROGATE IN 1763. 433 

most important overture was debated there was nei- 
ther one of the Judges nor of the Crown lawyers in 
the Assembly.* 

In May this year we had a visit from the Elacketts, 
who did not stay long ; and having an appointment 
with Dr Wight to go for a few weeks to Harrogate, 
we set out in the beginning of July, and on our way 
passed some days in Newcastle, where Wight, who 
was a stranger, made his usual impression as one of 
the most agreeable men they had ever seen. When 
we arrived at the Dragon, in Harrogate, however, 
Wight's vivacity was alarmed at the shyness of the 
English, who are backward to make up to strangers 
till they have reconnoitred them a while. Wight was 
much enraged at this, and threatened either to leave 
the place, or to breakfast in a private room. I pre- 
vailed with him to have his table set in the long room, 
where our demeanour being observed by the company, 
we were soon relieved from our awkward situation by 
an invitation from two ladies, who had no men with 
them, to come to their breakfast -table, according to 
the custom of the place at this time. We found them 
very agreeable, and were envied for our good-luck. 
When we entered the dining-room at two o'clock, we 
were no longer strangers, and took our places accord- 
ing to the custom of the house. There were two 
tables in the dining-room, which held between thirty 
and forty apiece, and our places were at the bottom 
of that on the right hand, from whence we were 

• The passage in brackets is in the MS., but not in the Author's hand. 

2 E 


gradually to rise to the top of the room as the com- 
pany changed, which was daily. 

Harrogate at this time was very pleasant, for there 
was a constant succession of good company, and the 
best entertainment of any watering-place in Britain, 
at the least expense. The house we were at was not 
only frequented by the Scotch at this time, but was 
the favourite house of the English nobility and gentry. 
Breakfast cost gentlemen only 2d. apiece for their muf- 
fins, as it was the fashion for ladies to furnish tea and 
sugar ; dinner. Is. ; supper, 6d. ; chambers, nothing ; 
wine and other extras at the usual price, and as little 
as you please ; horses and servants at a reasonable rate. 
We had two haunches of venison twice a-week during 
the season. The ladies gave afternoon's tea and coffee 
in their turns, which, coming but once in four or five 
weeks, amounted to a trifle. The estates of the people 
at our table did not amount to less than £50,000 or 
£60,000 per annum, among whom were several mem- 
bers of Parliament ; and they had not had the pre- 
caution to order one newspaper among them all, 
though the time was critical ; but Andrew Millar, the 
celebrated bookseller, supplied that defect, for he had 
two papers sent to him by every post, so that all the 
baronets and great squires — your Sir Thomas Cover- 
ings, and Sir Harry Grays, and Drummond of Blair- 
drummond — depended upon and paid him civility 
accordingly ; and yet when he appeared in the morn- 
ing, in his old well-worn suit of clothes, they could not 
help calling him Peter Pamphlet ; for the generous 

HARROGATE IN 1763. 435 

patron of Scotch authors, with his city wife and her 
niece, were sufficiently ridiculous when they came into 
good company. It was observed, however, that she 
did not allow him to go down to the well with her in 
the chariot in his morning dress, though she owned him 
at dinner-time, as he had to pay the extraordinaries. 

As Wight had never been in York, we went down 
early on a Sunday morning, when we heard that the 
Archbishop and the Judges were to be in the Cathe- 
dral. We had Dr Hunter, M.D., who at that time 
frequented Harrogate, for our guide ; but he was kept 
in such close conversation that he mistook the road, 
and led us two miles out of our way, so that we had 
but just time to breakfast before we went to church, 
when the service being begun, we entered the choir, 
where it was crowded to the door. Our eyes were 
delighted with such a magnificent show, but our ears 
were not so highly pleased, for no part of the service 
seemed to us to suit the grandeur of the scene. We 
were invited to dine with Mr Scott from Madeira, 
Thomas Cheap's partner ; but Wight had engaged 
to dine with the Honourable Archdeacon Hamilton, 
whose education he had superintended for a year at 
Glasgow, and w^ith whom he was well acquainted in 
Ireland, where his preferment lay. His beautiful wife 
had eloped from him with a Sir George Warren, and 
he had received her again, and was living privately at 
York till the story became stale. Wight extolled her 
beauty and her penitence — and, if I remember right, 
they continued to live together, and had sons and 


daughters. We passed the evening with Mr Scott, who 
had with him a large party of Americans — Mr Allen, 
Justice-General of Pennsylvania, and his two sons and 
daughters, fine young people indeed, the eldest of 
them not yet twenty years of age : with them there was 
also a Mr Livingstone, and, I think, a sister of his also. 
Mr Allen was a man very open and communicative, 
and as he was of Scottish extraction, his grandfather 
having fled from Stirlingshire to escape the cruel 
persecutions of the Presbyterians by Lauderdale and 
James IL, he seemed partial to us as clergymen from 
Scotland. He said he intended to have gone as far 
as Edinburgh, but found he should not have time 
at present, but was to leave his sons in England to 
complete their education. He wished us to stay all 
next day, and come an hour in the forenoon to 
examine his lads, to judge to what a lengtli young 
men could now be brought in America. This we 
declined, but agreed to dine next day, and bring on 
such conversation as would enable us to judge better 
of the young men than any formal examination. 

There was a circumstance that I shall never forget, 
which passed in one of our conversations. Dr Wight 
and I had seen Dr Franklin at Edinburgh, as I have 
formerly related : we mentioned this philosopher to 
Mr Allen with the respect we thought due, and he 
answered, "Yes, all you have said of him is true, and I 
could add more in his praise ; but though I have now 
got the better of him, he has cost me more trouble 
since he came to reside in our State than all mankind 


besides ; and I can assure you that lie is a man so 
turbulent, and such a plotter, as to be able to embroil 
the three kingdoms, if he ever has an opportunity." 
Franklin was after this for several weeks in Edin- 
burgh with David Hume, but I did not see him, 
having been from home on some jaunt. In 1769 or 
'70 I met him at an invited dinner in London, at 
John Stuart's, the Provost's son I think it was, where 
he was silent and inconversible, but this was after he 
had been refused the office of Postmaster-General of 
America, and had got a severe dressing from Wedder- 
bum, then Solicitor or Attorney-General. We returned 
to Harrogate in the evening, where Mr Scott and his 
wife joined us next day. 

It was my good fortune at dinner to sit next Mr 
Ann, a Roman Catholic gentleman of Yorkshire, who 
was very agreeable, and knew the whole company ; 
but it was our misfortune to lose our new friends 
very fast, for at the end of a fortnight I was at the 
head of a table, above thirty, and, I remember, had to 
divide a haunch of venison amono- fifteen of them with- 
out getting any portion of fat for myself — " but what 
signifies that, when you have an opportunity of oblig- 
ing your friends 1 " as Sir J. Dalrymple said to me 
one day when we had a haunch at the Poker, flatter- 
ing me for a good piece, for he was a gourmand. But 
it was wonderful to observe how easily we united 
with our new friends who took the places of the 
deceased, for most of them were in reality so to us. 
We fell in by accident with a very agreeable man, a 


Colonel Roberts, who was lieutenant-colonel of the 
Eoyal Irish, and had been in that country for three 
years, and had so completely caught the brogue that 
it was impossible at first to think him an Englishman 
born and bred, which he nevertheless was, and nephew 
to Lord Egremont, Secretary of State at the time. 
This gentleman, by ill-luck, had been directed to the 
Salutation Inn, which was the Quakers' house, of 
excellent entertainment, but indifi'erent compauy. He 
took much to Wight and me, and we would fain 
have drawiQ him to our house, but he would not for 
the world affront the good people, with whom he had 
lived a week. So we compromised the matter, and 
went sometimes to dine at his house, and he returned 
the visit and came to ours. He was truly a man of 
sense, and of much reading, and a great master of 
conversation : he was the first whom I met with who 
struck out an idea that has been followed since ; for, 
talking much of Hume's and Robertson's Histories, he 
said that Hume appeared to him to be the Homer 
and Robertson the Virgil of British historians, — a 
criticism that has of late been confirmed by Dugald 
Stewart's quotation. 

Our friend Captain Francis Lindsay was at the 
Granby, who sometimes dined with us, as we did one 
day with him, when we understood that Lord Clive and 
his train were to dine there ; and he had arrived the 
evening before, of which Lindsay informed us, and we 
went in due time to dinner. Clive was an ill-looking 
man, with the two sides of his face much unlike, one 


of them seem Id g distorted as with the palsy. When 
we entered the long room, he was sitting at a table 
in a window with a great many papers before him, 
which he had received with that day's post. It was 
by those despatches that he had learned that his 
jagire was taken from him. Lindsay had watched his 
countenance from the moment he got them, but could 
perceive no change in the muscles of his face, which 
were well suited to bad news. But he must have 
known before this time what had happened. He sat 
at some distance from me on the opposite side, but he 
seemed to converse with nobody during dinner, and 
left the table immediately after. There were half-a- 
dozen people with him, among whom were hLs favourite 
secretaries, both jolly fellows, who loved a glass of 
claret, which Lindsay recommended to them, and 
which was truly good. 

Thomas Cheap, my friend from Madeira, who had 
been married at Inveresk with Grace Stuart, came to 
Harrogate, according to his promise, to visit Lind- 
say and me. He came to the Dragon, and remained 
four days with us. She was very handsome and 
spirited, and made a great impression. Eobert Berry 
and his beautiful wife were there at the same time, 
and it could not be doubted that she was the finer 
woman of the two ; yet our fair Caledonian had so 
much frankness and spirit, and danced so exquisitely, 
that she carried off all hearts, insomuch that there was 
a sensible degree of regret and gloominess in the com- 
pany for a quarter of an hour at least after she left it. 


Wight and I rode one day to Hackfell, a place of 
the Aislabies, a few miles beyond Ripon, through 
a most delightful country, no part of which is finer 
than Ripley. Hackfell consists of a few wooded 
hills on both sides of a valley, terminating in a fine 
village on the banks of a small river, called Ma- 
sham. There are fine walks cut through the woods, 
which make the place very delightful. Many such 
are now in Scotland, since our great proprietors have 
found the way to lay open the secret beauties of their 
romantic domains to strangers. Not being able to 
reach Harrogate to dinner, we tried to get something 
at Grewelthorpe, the adjacent village ; but there was 
no fire in the house, nor anything indeed, but very bad 
oat bread and some ordinary cheese. Rummaging 
about in the awmry, however, I found at last about two 
pounds' weight of cold roast-veal, which was a great 
prize, especially now that two gentlemen had joined 
us, an Hanoverian nobleman, and a Dr Dod from 
London — not he of infamous memory, but another of 
perfect good character and very agreeable manners. 
We visited many fine places in the neighbourhood, 
and particularly Harewood, the seat of Squire Las- 
celles, now Lord Harewood, where there is a very fine 
house built by Robert Adam, and then not inhabited. 
The house might have had a finer site, had it been a 
quarter of a mile more to the north, where there is a 
full view of one of the finest vales in Yorkshire. Next 
year I visited this place again with my wife and the 
Blacketts, and having been rebuked by Sir David 


Dalrymple for having omitted it before (because I 
was ignorant of its curiosity), I went into the \dllage 
church, and saw the monument of the Chief-Justice 
Gascoigne, a native here, who had arrested Henry V., 
when Prince of Wales, for a riot. 

Harrogate abounded with half -pay officers and 
clergymen. The first are much the same at all times, 
ill educated, but well bred ; and when you now and 
then meet with a scholar such as Colonel Roberts, or 
my old friend whom I knew when Lieutenant Ward 
at Musselburgh — a little stuttering fellow, about the 
year 1749, who had read Poly bins and Caesar twice 
over, and who rose to be a general and commander of 
the cavalry in Ireland — you will find him as intelligent 
as agreeable. Of the clergy I had never seen so many 
together before, and between this and the following 
year I was able to form a true judgment of them. 
They are, in general — I mean the lower order — divided 
into bucks and prigs ; of which the first, though in- 
conceivably ignorant, and sometimes indecent in their 
morals, yet I held them to be most tolerable, because 
they were unassuming, and had no other afi"ectation 
but that of behaving themselves like gentlemen. The 
other division of them, the prigs, are truly not to be 
endured, for they are but half learned, are ignorant of 
the world, narrow-minded, pedantic, and overbearing. 
And now and then you meet with a rara avis who is 
accomplished and agreeable, a man of the world with- 
out licentiousness, of learning without pedantry, and 
pious without sanctimony ; but this is a rara avis. 


This was the first time I had seen John Bull at any 
of his watering-places, and I thought it not difficult 
to account for his resort to them. John is an honest 
and worthy person as any in the world, but he is sel- 
dom happy at home. He has in his temper a shyness 
that approaches to timidity, and a deference for the 
opinion of his servant that overawes him, and keeps 
him in constraint at home, while he is led into unrea- 
sonable expense. At his watering-places he is free 
from these shackles ; his reserve is overcome by the 
frankness of those he meets ; he is master of his 
servants, for he carries only two with him ; and the 
man of £10,000 per annum can spend no more than 
the man of £500, so that the honest man finds him- 
self quite unfettered, and is ready to show his kind 
and sociable disposition ; he descends from his ima- 
ginary dignity by mixing with those who are richer 
than himself, and soon shows you what he really is, 
viz. the very best sort of man in the world. The late 
wars have been very favourable to the improving and 
disclosing his character, for instead of going into 
France, where he was fiattered, laughed at, and plun- 
dered, he is now obliged to make all his summer 
excursions round his own country, where his heart 
expands ; and, being treated as he deserves, returns 
home for the winter happy and much improved. 

At this period everything was cheap and good at 
Harrogate, except wine, which, unless it was their 
claret, which was everywhere good and reasonable, 
was very bad indeed. John Bull, however, has little 


taste, and does not much care ; for provided he goes to 
bed muzzy, whether it be with his own native drink, 
ale, or sophisticated port, he is perfectly contented. 

As I designed to convey Wight to Dumfries, and 
Captain Lindsay was going by Lochmaben to visit 
his brother James, the minister, we agreed to set out 
together, and made a very agreeable journey. Some 
part of the road was dreary after we passed Sir 
Thomas Robertson's, which is a fine place, and where 
there is an inscription faiily acknowledging that the 
family took its rise from a Scotch pedlar. "When we 
approached Appleby, we were delighted with the ap- 
pearance of the country, which, being a mixture of 
hill and dale, of wood and water, of cultivated and 
uncultivated, is far more pleasing to the eye and the 
imagination than those rich plains which are divided 
into small squares or parallelograms, which look like 
bleach-fields for cotton, on the banks of the Clyde or 
Leven. At Penrith we resolved to stop a day, to rest 
our horses, and to take the opportunity of going to 
visit the lake Keswick, of which we had heard so 
much. Next morning we took a post-chaise and four 
and drove thither, over a rough road, through a bar- 
ren country, to the village, at the distance of eighteen 
miles. We were unlucky, for it proved a rainy after- 
noon, so that we could not sail on the lake, and saw 
everything to great disadvantage. We returned to 
Penrith, where we had good entertainment and ex- 
cellent claret. 

Next morning we set out northwards, and separated 


from Captain Lindsay when we came to Longtown, 
for he went to Lochmaben, and we took the road to 
Dumfries, where, after staying a few days, I took the 
road home by Moffat, and Wight went over to Ire- 
land, once more to visit his friends there. I found 
my wife and little daughter in good health, with a 
fair prospect of another ere long. My wife had sup- 
posed that I had some scorbutic symptoms, which had 
been removed by Harrogate waters. 

The remainder of the season passed on as usual, 
but I was not any more from home, except now and 
then in Edinburgh at the Poker Club, which ceased 
to meet by the 12th of August, and reopened on the 
12th of November. 

Luke Home, our aunt Home's youngest son, came 
to us to be at the school a year or two before, and 
remained four years. Their daughter, Betty, came 
after, and stayed two or three years. On the first 
day of December this year my wife brought me a 
second daughter, which, after trying in vain to nurse, 
she gave to a very faithful and trusty woman in 
Fisherrow, who, after remaining one quarter with us, 
we allowed to take the child to her own house, where 
she continued to thrive to our entire satisfaction. 


1764-1766: AGE, 42-44. 







It was in February this year, I think, that Mrs Car- 
lyle, being perfectly recovered, and I accompanied her 
uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Home, to Glasgow, to 
see their son Walter, who was in quarters there with 
his regiment, the 7th Foot. Dr Wight had by that 
time got into his house in the College, and had 
got his youngest sister to keep his house, who was 
remarkably handsome, had very good parts, with the 
frank and open manner of the Dumfriesians. Her 
brother did not disappoint her turn for social enter- 
tainment, for he loved company, and the house was 
not without them almost any day. Here we and our 
friends were handsomely entertained, as well as at 
Mrs Dreghom's, where we lodged; and at her brother's, 
Mr Bogle's, who never relaxed in his attachment to 
me. Walter Home, then only a lieutenant, whose 


chum was a Mr Mainwarring, a very agreeable man, 
liad made himself very respectable in Glasgow, to 
which he was well entitled, as much from his superior 
sense and knowledge as from his social turn. John 
Home, by one of his benevolent mistakes, had put 
him about James Stuart, Lord Bute's second son, 
whom he was engaged to attend daily while he lived 
with Dr Robertson in Edinburgh. 

At this time Henry Dundas, the most strenuous 
advocate for the law of the land respecting presenta- 
tions, and the ablest and steadiest friend to Dr Robert- 
son and his party that ever appeared in my time, be- 
came a member of Assembly. He constantly attended 
the Assembly before and after he was Solicitor- General, 
though when he rose to be Lord Advocate and mem- 
ber of Parliament he was sometimes detained in Lon- 
don till after the meeting of Assembly. He was more 
than a match for the few lawyers who took the op- 
posite side, and even for Crosbie, who was playing a 
game, and Dr Dick, who was by far the ablest clergy- 
man in opposition. I am not certain whether Henry 
Dundas did not excel more as a barrister than he did 
as a judge in a popular assembly — in the first, by his 
entering so warmly into the interest of his client as 
totally to forget himself, and to adopt all the feelings, 
sentiments, and interests of his employer ; in the 
second, by a fair and candid statement of the ques- 
tion, and followed it by strong and open reasoning in 
support^of his opinion. For a few years at this period 
there was a great struggle in the General Assembly 


against the measures supported and carried through 
by Eobertson and his friends, and we had to combat 
the last exertions of the party who had supported 
popular calls ; aud it must be confessed that their 
efforts were vigorous. They contrived to bring in 
overtures from year to year, in which they proposed 
to consult the country, in the belief that the result 
would be such a general opinion over the kingdom as 
would oblige the General Assembly to renew their 
application for the abolition of patronage, or at least 
for some more lenient exercise of it. Those endea- 
vours were encouraged by a new schism in the 
Church, which was laid by a Mr Baine, minister of 
Paisley, which in a few years produced a numerous 
body of new seceders called the Presbytery of Relief, 
who had no fault to anything but presentations. This 
faction was supported for several years by a strange 
adventurer, a ^Ir William Alexander, the second son 
of the provost of that name, who of all the men I have 
known had the strongest propensity to plotting, with 
the finest talents for such a business. As his attempts 
to speak in the Assembly were unsuccessful, and drew 
nothing on him but ridicule, he actually wrote to Dr 
Blair (I have seen the letter), offering him a thousand 
pounds if he could teach him the art of speaking in 
public. As Blair was Professor of Rhetoric and Belles- 
Lettres, he thought he was the most likely person to 
comply with his request ; but he had not observed 
that Dr Blair never spoke in public himself, but from 
the pulpit, from whence he might have gathered that 


the knowledge of rhetoric was different from the 

It was in this year that Dr Drysdale was translated 
from Kirkliston to Edinburgh after a long struggle 
with the popular body, the General Session of Edin- 
burgh, who, with the Town Council, had for many 
years elected all the ministers. The Magistrates and 
Council reassumed their right of presentation in this 
case, and after much litigation established it, much 
for the peace of the city. During the contest, which 
was violent, my friend Dr Jardine rode out to me, 
and requested me to draw up a paper in their defence, 
which I did on his furnishing me with the facts, and 
published under the title of Faction Detected. This I 
mention, because Mr Robertson, the Procurator, asked 
me once if it was not of his father's composing, for so 
it had been said to him. But I told him the fact, and 
at the same time gave him the reasons of dissent from 
a sentence of the Commission in 1751 or '52, which 
had been originally drawn by Dr Robertson, though 
corrected and enlarged by a committee. This pam- 
phlet had so much effect that the opposition employed 
their first hand, Dr Dick, to write an answer to it ; 
and yet neither the provost, nor any of the magis- 
trates, nor Drysdale himself, ever thanked me for it. 
Dr Jardine perhaps never told his father-in-law, 
Drummond, and I never asked him about it. Lind- 
say, who was restless, for. whom John Home had ob- 
tained Lochmaben, now got Kirkliston, and Lord Bute 
sent Dicky Brown to Lochmaben, for which he had 


no thanks from the neighbourliood, for though 
Lindsay's temper was not very congruous to his 
brethren and neighbours, yet he was a gentleman, 
whereas the other was the contrary, and sometimes 

In the end of summer I went asjain with !Mrs Car- 
lyle to Harrogate, as her health was not good, and as 
the [change], if not the waters, might be good for her. 
I got an open chaise with two horses— one before the 
other, and the servant on the first. As many of the 
roads through which we went were not at all improved, 
we found this an excellent way of travelling. We 
visited our friends in the Merse and in the north of 
England by the way, and stayed some days at New- 
castle. As Mr Blackett and his lady were going soon 
to Eipon to visit his mother, they agreed to come on 
for a week to Harrogate, after which we would return 
with them by York, where Mrs Carlyle had never 

The assizes were at Newcastle while we were there, 
and Alexander Wedderburn was attending as a coun- 
sellor.* He had been there the preceding year, but 

had not a cause. ]^Ir , an old coimsellor, who 

had left London and settled at Leeds, had become ac- 
quainted with him, and had discovered the superiority 
of his talents. He got him two or three briefs this 
circuit, and his appearances were such as insured him 
future success. This very gentleman pointed out his 

* The reader neetl hardly be reminded that the Alexander Wedderburn 
so fretinently mentioned became Lord Chancellor Loughborough. — Ed. 

2 F 


first lady to him, with whom he got £10,000. When 
the assizes were over he dined with us at Mr Blackett's, 
where his talent for conversation not being equal to 
that at the bar, being stiff and pompons, he made not 
such an impression on the company as they expected. 
The appearance of self-conceit always disgusts the 
ladies. He came to Harrogate during the first days of 
our residence there, and stayed two nights, when Mrs 
Carlyle had some difficulty in getting him a partner. 

It will not be improper here to state, that on a 
future occasion I had the good fortune to save a man 
for that time from the gallows. There was a man of 
the name of Robertson, who lived near Belford, who 
was accused of haviug stolen a heifer, and killed it at 
his own house. The heifer had belonged to a person 
several miles distant from Belford, and was killed and 
skinned before it was seen by anybody; but the proof 
on its marks, and the colour of its skin, made it very 
like the one amissing. . The man had no advocate, and 
being put on the boards, w^as asked by the judge 
(Yates) if he had any defence to make. He answered, 
that he was in use of going annually to Dunse fair, 
where he generally bought a beast or two for his own 
use, and this was one he had got there. The judge 
summed up the evidence and charged the jury, ob- 
serving in his conclusion, that the only defence the 
man made was, that he bought the heifer at Dunse 
fair. Now it having been proved that this heifer was 
of English breed, which could not be bought at Dunse, 
that defence would go for nothing. I was amazed at 


the ignorance of the judge, and the carelessness of the 
grand jury, and said to Colonel Dickson of Belford 
that the judge had gone quite wrong in his charge. 
He answered that Eobertson was a great rascal, and 
deserved to be hanged. I answered that might be 
true, but that he ought not to suffer for the ignorance 
of the judge or jury, for he knew as well as I did 
that cattle of Northumberland were to be bouorht at 
Dunse fair — ^nay, that half the cattle in Berwickshire 
were of that breed, so that if he would not explain 
this to the judge, I would. I at last prevailed with 
him to go round and whisper the judge, who, calling 
in the jury, retracted what he had said. He sent 
them out again, and in a few minutes they returned 
and gave in their verdict, " Not guilty. ' I am afraid 
such mistakes must frequently happen in England, in 
spite of the perfection of their laws. 

When we arrived at Harroo-ate, the Dragon was not 
full, and the first person we saw was the late General 
Clerk, whom, though younger by at least a year than 
me, I had known at college, and had sometimes met 
when I was last in London. This was a very singular 
man, of a very ingenious and active intellect, though 
he had broke short in his education by entering at an 
early age into the army ; and having by nature a 
copious elocution, he threw out his notions, which were 
often new, with a force and rapidity which stunned 
you more than they convinced. He applied his war- 
like ideas to colloquial intercourse, and attacked your 
opinions as he would do a redoubt or a castle, not by 


sap and mine, but by open storm. I must confess, 
that of all the men who had so much understanding, 
he was the most disagreeable person to converse with 
whom I ever knew. The worst of him was, that he 
was not contented with a patient hearing, nor even 
with the common marks of assentation, such as yes, 
or certainly, or to be sure, or nodding the head, as 
Charles Townshend, and William Eobertson, and other 
great talkers were ; you must contradict him, and 
wrangle with him, or you had no peace. Elibank had 
something of the same humour, but he was better 
bred. Clerk was truly the greatest siccatore in the 
world. Like some of the locusts that blast the vege- 
table world, and shrivel to dust everything that is 
green, he was of the caterpillar kind, who have a par- 
ticular species of food, on which alone they fasten, 
and leave the rest untouched. I unluckily happened 
to be the only person of that species at this time in 
the Dragon whom he knew, and he fastened on me 
like a leech. JVIrs Carlyle and I breakfasted at a table 
by ourselves, not caring to join with anybody, as we 
expected our friends from Newcastle. In vain I 
hinted this to him as an excuse for not asking him to 
breakfast. That, he said, he never did, as he wished 
to be independent. On the third day, however, after 
our arrival, having been much taken with Mrs Car- 
lyle's manner of conversing, and her not being alarmed 
at his paradoxes, but only laughing at them, he or- 
dered his tea-table to be set down close by hers, and 
kept up a noisy palaver which attracted the attention 


of the whole room ; and had it not been for the lady's 
entire possession of herself, and her being a general 
favourite of the company who were there, might have 
let loose the tongue of scandal. He told me that 
he expected Adam Ferguson from Edinburgh imme- 
diately, who was to take the two brothers of Lord 
Grenville, who were with Dr Robertson at Edinburgh, 
under his care, and that he looked every day for his 
arrival. Ferguson had told me this before, and I now 
ardently wished for his coming. In about four or 
five days Ferguson came, and most happily relieved 
me from my post of fatigue ; for when everybody went 
a riding or walking in the forenoon, the first of which 
he could not do, as he had no horse, — would you be- 
lieve it t he patiently walked backwards and forwards 
within sight of the door, so that I could not possibly 
escape him, and was obliged to submit to my destiny, 
which was to walk and wrangle Avith him for three 
hours together. About the fourth evening I had a 
little relief by the arrival of two gentlemen, whom, as 
we met driving to the inn in such a carriage as mine, 
as we were walking on the heath. Clerk, having 
stopped and spoken to them, returned to me and said 
that we were now lucky, for those were hands of the 
first water. They were Hall, Esq., the author 

of Crazy Tales; and the famous Colonel Lee, com- 
monly called Savage Lee.* As Clerk expected Fer- 

* The Crazy Tales were jmblishecl in 1762 anonymously. They aj)i)ear 
(1795) in the collected works of John Hall Stevenson, who died in 1785. 
Charles Lee was afterwanLs celelirated as the rival of Washington for the 
command of the American army. He was one of the repnted authors of 
Jimius. — El). 


guson, and Charles, and Robert Grenville, we had 
agreed to keep at the foot of one of the tables that 
we might have them near us ; and he requested me to 
remain in the same position, as the two newly-arrived 
would be glad to sit by us. I acquiesced, and found the 
first a highly-accomplished and well-bred gentleman ; 
not so the second, but he might have been endured 
had it not been for the perpetual jarrings between 
Clerk and him, w^hich, if it had not been for the mild 
and courteous manner of his companion Hall, must 
have ended in a quarrel ; for the moment after the 
ladies rose from table, which was very soon, the two 
soldiers fell a wrangling and fighting like pugilists, 
which made their company very disagreeable. 

In a day or two Ferguson arrived, which effectually 
took Clerk off me, except at our meal-time, which I 
could now endure, as his fire was divided. Before 
Ferguson came, the house began to be crowded, and 
he was put into a very bad lodging-room, near where 
the fiddlers slept, and very noisy. On the third day 
he was seized with a fever, of which he was very 
impatient, and said it was entirely owing to his bad 
room. I brought Mrs Carlyle to him, who thought 
him very feverish, I went to the landlady to procure 
him a better room, and when Kilrington, the M.D. 
from Rippon, who attended the house daily, arrived 
before dinner, I carried him to him, who prescribed 
nothing but rest and sack whey. After two days 
more, Kilrington, who saw him twice a-day, told me 
to go to him, for he was better. I sat with him a 


few minutes, and as the dinner-bell rang, I left him, 
saj-ing I would send Clerk after dinner. " God for- 
bid," said he, in a voice of despair, " as you regard my 
life." This explosion left me no room to doubt what 
was the true cause of his fever. In two days more 
he was able to join us. 

Soon after this there was a party made out which 
amused us much. The Laird of M'Leod, with his 
wife and daughter, afterwards Lady Pringle, arrived 
after dinner ; and as we were their only acquaintance, 
and they had arrived after dinner, we waited on them 
to tea in their parlour, when they asked us [to a concert] 
they were to have there an hour or two later, which 
was to be private, but we might bring one or two of 
our friends. We attended accordingly, and took 
Messrs Hall and Lee and two ladies with us. Miss 
M'Leod was at this time in the prime of her beauty, 
and a few months past sixteen. She was truly very 
striking and attractive. When the Savage saw her, he 
seemed astonished with her beauty ; when she sang 
a Scottish song, he was delighted ; but when she 
finished with an Italian song of the first order, he 
was ravished, and fell into a silly amazement, how a 
young lady from the barbarous coast of the Isle of 
Skye could possibly be such a mistress of the Italian 
music and Italian tongue. He spake not another 
word all that night or the next momino- when he 
had several opportunities of drinking deeper in the 
Cyprian goblet ; but when he saw them preparing 
to leave us after dinner, the conquered hero could not 


stand the mortifying event, but retired from the com- 
pany, and was seen no more that night. The fit 
lasted for several days, and he bore the raillery of 
Hall and Clerk with a meekness which proved the 
strength of his passion. M'Leod had only looked in 
at Harrogate to observe the state of gaming there ; 
but as he found nothing higher than a guinea whist- 
table, he thought to stay would be losing time, and 
made the best of his way to a town about forty miles 
off, where there were races to begin next day. 

Mrs Carlyle had never been at any watering-place 
before, and, considering that she was only twenty- 
four, she conducted herself with surprising propriety, 
many proofs of which I had, to my great delight — one 
proof was, the great joy that appeared when she won 
the chief prize in a lottery which was drawn for the 
amusement of the company. There was another lady 
from the south, of popular manners, a Mrs Maxwell, 
who had the good wishes of a few of the ladies ; but 
our party beat hers both in numbers and sincere at- 

Our friends, the Blacketts, had now been for some 
days at Ripon with his mother, a fine hospitable old 
lady, the daughter of Mr Wise of the Priory at War- 
wick. By a message they invited us to dine there 
next day, and desired us to bespeak their lodging, as 
they were to come to Harrogate with us. This we 
accordingly did, and passed a very agreeable da}^ with 
the old lady and our friends. She had a fine haunch of 
venison for us from Studley Park, besides many other 


good things. Eipon is a deliglitful village to live 
at, not merely on account of the good provisions for 
the table and a plentiful country, hut because there 
is a dean and chapter, and generally excellent musi- 
cians. The dean and prebendary are well endowed, 
and they and their families furnish a good society. 
The Blacketts returned with us to Harrogate, and we 
passed our time very pleasantly. On the last night 
Clerk and Hall asked me in the evening to go to the 
Queen's Head to see some of our acquaintance there, 
and to shun our own ball. We went accordingly, 
and met with a ball there, of which we tired, and, 
that we might be quiet, went to the Granby, where 
there was no ball, and where there was excellent 
claret. As Lee had refused to come abroad that 
evening. Hall was at liberty, and so, taking Kilring- 
ton the doctor with us as a fourth hand, we went 
there to supper, when Hall and Clerk fell a-debating 
so tediously and so warmly about Lord Bute's char- 
acter and fitness for the place of minister, that we did 
not return to the Dragon till six in the morning. I 
was diverted to see how Clerk, who generally took 
part against Lord Bute, that night became his zealous 
friend, and not only contended that his being a Scotch- 
man was no bar, but that his talents were equal to 
any high situation. Hall allowed him private virtues, 
but no public ability. 

This conference was very tiresome, and lasted too 
late for me, who was to set out soon next morning. 
Ferguson's young gentlemen were not yet arrived, 

458 THE LAIRDS IN 1705. 

and he remained a week longer without being able to 
shake off his dear friend Clerk, who had procured for 
him the charge of those boys, and who, through his 
friendship to Lady Warwick, took a fatherly charge 
of them. 

Our company got to York before dinner, where we 
stayed most part of next day, and got to Newcastle 
in two days, and in a few days more arrived at home. 
Blackett's horse was very heavy, and my tandem far 
outran them. When we came home, we found our 
children in perfect health, which was a great delight 
to us, and proved the fidelity of Jenny's nurse, with 
whom we had trusted them both. 

Ambassador Keith had returned home, and having 
a handsome pension settled on him, he lived hand- 
somely for some time in Edinburgh, and after a while 
at Hermitage, on Leith Links. He was a man, though 
without wit and humour, yet of good sense and much 
knowledge of the world. He had been absent from 
Scotland for twenty-two years as private secretary to 
Mareschal Lord Stair, Envoy at Holland, and Ambas- 
sador at Vienna and Petersburg. He complained 
that the society of Edinburgh was altered much for 
the worse. Most of his old companions were dead. 
The Scottish lairds did not now make it a part of 
their education to pass two years at least abroad, if 
they had but £300 per annum, from whence they 
returned polished in their manners ; and that portion 
of them who had good sense, wdth their minds en- 
larged and their manners improved. They found 

THE LAIRDS IN 1765. 459 

themselves now better employed in remaining at home, 
and cultivating their fields ; but they were less quali- 
fied for conversation, and could talk of nothing but 
of dung and of bullocks. The lawyers had contented, 
themselves with studying law at home. The medical 
tribe had now the best school of physic in Europe 
established in Edinburgh, and a rising infirmary, 
which promised the students an ample field of prac- 
tice, so that very few of that profession went now 
to Leyden or Paris. Keith complained of the dulness 
of the society, in which he was confirmed by his son, 
afterwards Sir Eobert Murray Keith, who had come 
down to stay for three months, but returned by the 
end of one, not finding the state of society to his 
mind. The Ambassador had recourse to our order, 
who had, till lately, never been thought good com- 
pany ; so that finding Blair and Robertson and Jar- 
dine and myself, to whom he afterwards added Fer- 
guson, good company for him, he appointed us am- 
bassador's chaplains, and required an attendance at 
least once a-week to dinner at his house, and was to 
return our visits when we asked him. He was soon 
chosen a member of the Poker Club, which was en- 
tirely to his taste. Baron Mure and Lord Elliock 
were also much in his society, especially the first, who 
havinor been intimate with Lord Bute durinor the ten 
years he resided in Bute, previous to 1745, was, after 
serving in Parliament for some years for Eenfrew- 
shire, promoted to the place of Baron of Exchequer. 
When Milton's infirmities made him retire from busi- 


ness, Baron Mure was the man who was thoug-ht fit to 
supply his place, after Lord Bute's brother, who tried 
it for one season, but finding his being sub-minister 
not agreeable to the country, and very irksome to 
himself, he prudently declined it, when Mure became 
the confidential man of business, for which he was 
perfectly well qualified ; for though his manner was 
blunt and unattractive, yet as, at the same time, he 
was unassuming, of excellent understanding and great 
ability for business, he continued to be much trusted 
and advised with as long as he lived. ■^''' Elliock was 
an excellent scholar, and a man of agreeable conversa- 
tion, having many curious anecdotes in his store ; and 
to his other fund, had the good fortune to be well ac- 
quainted with Frederick the Great of Prussia, when 
he retired into Holland from his father's tyranny, and 
visited him at least once by invitation, after he came 
to the throne.t 

This was the year, too, when Dr John Gregory, my 
Leyden friend, came to settle in Edinburgh, a widower, 
with three sons and three daughters.;]: He soon came 
to be perfectly known here, and got into very good 
business. Dr Eutherford, Professor of the Practice of 

* William Mure of Caldwell, Baron of the Exchequer, held a high social 
place among the men of letters of that day in Scotland ; he was the intimate 
friend and the correspondent of David Hume. His corres])ondence is con- 
tained in " the Caldwell Pa])ers," edited for the Bannatyne Club by his 
descendant, the late distinguished scholar and author, Colonel Mvu-e. — Ed. 

+ James Veitch, advocate, was raised to the bench m 1760, when he took 
the title of Lord EUiock. He enjoyed a reimtation in his day, from the 
circiunstance, alliided to in the text, of Frederic the Great having taken a 
fancy to him, and conferred on him the rank of Corresjwudent. — Eu. 

:J: See above, i). 179. 


Physic, begiDniiig to fail, and being afraid of Cullen 
becoming his successor, whom he held to be an heretic, 
he readily entered into a compact with Gregory, whom 
he esteemed orthodox in the medical faith, and re- 
signed his class to him. In a year or two that doctor 
died, when Ciillen and Gregory, agreeable to previous 
settlement, taught the two classes the theory and 
practice by turns, changing every session. I got Gre- 
gory elected into the Poker, but though very desirous 
at first, yet he did not avail himself of it, but desisted 
after twice attending, afraid, I suppose, of disgustina 
some of the ladies he paid court to by falling in some- 
times there with David Hume, whom they did not 
know for the innocent good soul which he really was. 
Professor Ferguson told me not long ago that he was 
present the second time Dr Gregory- attended the 
Poker, when, enlarging on his favourite topic, the 
superiority of the female sex, he was so laughed at 
and run down that he never returned. 

Gregory had met with Old Montague at the Royal 
Society in London, who was fond of all mathemati- 
cians, and had made himself master of his mind. 
Montague introduced him to his wife, a fine woman, 
who was a candidate for glory in every branch of 
literature but that of her husband, and its connec- 
tions and dependencies. She was a faded beauty, a 
wit, a critic, an author of some fame, and a friend 
and coadjutor of Lord Littleton. She had some parts 
and knowledge, and might have been admired by the 
first order of minds, had she not been greedy of more 


praise than she was entitled to. She came here for a 
fortnight, from her residence near Newcastle, to visit 
Gregory, who took care to show her off; but she did 
not take here, for she despised the women, and dis- 
gusted the men with her affectation. Old Edinburgh 
was not a climate for the success of impostures. Lord 
Kames, who was at first catched with her Parnassian 
coquetry, said at last that he believed slie had as 
much learning as a well-educated college lad here of 
sixteen. I could have forgiven her for her pretensions 
to literary fame, had she not loudly put in her claim 
to the praise and true devotion of the heart, which 
belongs to genuine feelings and deeds, in which she 
was remarkably deficient. We saw her often in the 
neighbourhood of Newcastle, and in that town, where 
there was no audience for such an actress as she was, 
her natural character was displayed, which was that 
of an active manager of her affairs, a crafty chaperon, 
and a keen pursuer of her interest, not to be outdone 
by the sharpest coal-dealer on Tyne ; but in this capa- 
city she w^as not displeasing, for she was not acting 
a part. Mrs Montague was highly delighted with 
" Sister Peg," which Ferguson had written, and con- 
gratulated Mrs Carlyle on having a husband whose 
conversation must be a constant source of entertain- 
ment. She did not advert to it, that in domestic life 
the scene did not always lie in the drawing-room. 

We had a sight of the celebrated poet Gray at Dr 
Gregory's, who passing through Edinburgh to the 
Highlands with my friend Major Lyon for his con- 

father's death. 463 

ductor, six or seven of us assembled to meet him, and 
were disappointed. But this eminent poet had not 
justice done him, for he was much worn out with his 
journey, and, by retiring soon after supper, proved that 
he had been taken at a time when he was not fit to 
be shown off. 

(1 765.) — Early in March this year I lost my worthy 
father, at seventy-five years of age. He had been for 
some years declining, and of late had strong symp- 
toms of dropsy, a disease of worn-out constitutions ; 
for though seemingly robust and very active, he had 
been aflBicted aU his life with sundry disorders of an 
alarming nature, such as an universal rheumatism, and 
spasms in his stomach at regiUar hours every night 
for three months together. He died with the utmost 
calmness and resignation, and ordered all his affairs 
with a prudence and foresight that were surprising, 
amidst frequent effiisions of the most fervent piety. 
Though long expected, I felt this a severe blow, as 
every man of common feeling-s must do — the loss of 
a respectable parent. The sincere grief of his parish, 
and the unaffected regret of all who knew him, raised 
pleasing sensations in the minds of his family. I had 
withdrawn my wife from this afflicting scene, by let- 
ting her yield to the importunity of her sister, and go 
to Newcastle in the beginning of March. This as- 
cendance which her sister had on her affections ac- 
coimted perfectly for our not growing rich, as some of 
our free-judging neighbours alleged we must certainly 
be doing ; for though our income was tolerable, yet 


these frequent visits to the south — not less than 
twice in a year — put it only in our power to pay our 
accounts at the end of the year. I went to New- 
castle before the end of April to bring my wife home, 
on which or some such occasion we brought with 
us Dr Gregory's two daughters, Dolly and Anne, 
very fine girls, who had been staying with Mrs Mon- 
tague. As there were none of my father's family now 
alive but my sister Nell, who was the youngest, and 
Sarah, who was one or two years older, and unmar- 
ried, my father had the satisfaction that my mother 
would be independent, but advised her to come close 
to me, which she did at the Michaelmas term. 

Lord Prestongrange, the patron of the parish, who 
was my father's friend and old companion at college, 
was generous to my mother, by giving her a grant of 
the glebe, which was partly sown, and a considerable 
part of the vacant stipend, to which she was not en- 
titled. The two next successors to my father died in 
four years, so that his place was not well filled up, nor 
the regret of the parishioners lessened for his loss, till 
Dr Joseph M'Cormick succeeded in 1768 or '69. 

In the General Assembly this year there was a 
strong push made to bring in an overture to all the 
presbyteries of the Church to inquire into the causes 
of schism, &c., from whence those in opposition to 
patronages believed there would come such a report 
as would found and justify a fresh application to the 
Legislature for their abolition. It was thouojht best 
on our side not directly to oppose this motion, but to 

A TOUR. 465 

propose a committee of Assembly rather than agree 
to the transmission, which was agreed to, and a large 
committee appointed, who, strange to tell, in spite of all 
their zeal, met only once, and did nothing, though they 
had full power, and made no report to next Assembly.* 

It was in the months of August and September 
this year that Dr Wight and I made our tour round 
the north, where neither of us had ever been, from 
whence we derived much amusement and satisfac- 
tion. We went on horseback by Queensferry, Perth, 
Dundee, Arbroath, &c. We stayed four days and 
nights at Aberdeen on account of Dr Wight's horse 
having been lamed in crossing the ferry at 3iIontrose ; 
but we passed our time very agreeably between the 
houses of our friends Drs Campbell and Gerard. 

When I returned — for Wight went to Dumfries 
from Edinburgh — I found the children well, but their 
mother suffering from a very severe rheumatism in 
her teeth, owing to their being cleaned too much. 
A fresh call from Newcastle carried Mrs Carlyle there 
aojain in the beo-innincr of November. I did not tro 
with her, but went for her at the end of the year, and 

* The reader will recognise in these and subsequent passages some inter- 
esting incidents of the great contest, which, beginning with the Patronage 
Act of 1710, thi-ew off two dissenting bodies — the Secession and the ReUef — 
in the eighteenth century, and endetl in the construction of the Free Chiirch 
in 1843. The natme of the proceetliugs will be understood by keeping in 
view that the "overtiu^," or opening of a measure (a term taken by the Par- 
liament of Scotland from French practice), required, in conformity with one 
of the fundamental regulations of ecclesiastical procedure in Scotland, called 
the " Barrier Act, ■' to be transmitted to the local presbyteries for ailoption 
by a majority before being passed and carried into effect by the Generr.l 
Assembly. — Ed. 

2 G 


carried a Miss Wilkie with me from Ingram's, and a Eev^ 
Mr Forbes, wlio married a grand-aunt of Mrs Carlyle's. 

(1766.) — I have not mentioned some visits we had 
from our friends in Newcastle, nor do I exactly [remem- 
ber] the dates of their coming. He soon tired, and had 
always business to carry him back. Not so his lady, who 
loved our society better than that of Newcastle. In 
April I made a tour with Mary to Berwick, Langton, 
and Fogo, for her health, and to visit our friends. 

John Home was now always in London from October 
till May, when Lord Bute parted with him, for most 
part to come to the General Assembly, as, being Lord 
Conservator, he was now a constant member, and, though 
no great debater, gave us a speech now and then. 

In the Assembly this year there was the last grand 
effort of our opponents to carry through their Schism 
Overture, as it was called, as it proposed to make an 
inquiry into the causes and growth of schism. On 
the day before it came before the Assembly we had 
dined at Nicholson's. Before we parted, Jardine told 
me that he had examined the list of the Assembly 
with care, and that we should carry the question- — ■ 
that it would be nearly at par till we came as far on 
the roll as Lochmaben, but that after that we should 
have it hollow. I have mentioned this on account of 
what happened next day, which was Friday the 29th. 

There was a very long debate, so that the vote was 
not called till past seven o'clock. Jardine, who had 
for some time complained of breathlessness, had seated 
himself on a high bench near the east door of the As- 


sembly House, there being at that time no galleries 
erected. He had, not half an hour before, had a com- 
munication with some ladies near him in the church 
gallery, who had sent him a bottle of wine, of which 
he took one glass. The callinoj of the roll beorau, and 
when it had passed the presbytery of Lochmaben, he 
gave a significant look with his eye to me, who was 
sitting below the throne, as much as to say, " Now the 
day's our owu." I had turned to the left to whisper 
to John Home, who was next me, the sign I had got ; 
before I could look round ao;ain, Jardine had tumbled 
from his seat, and, being a man of six feet two inches, 
and of large bones, had borne down all those on the 
two benches below him, and fallen to the ground. He 
was immediately carried out to the passage, and the 
roll-calling stopped. Various reports came from the 
door, but, anxious to know the truth, I stepped behind 
the Moderator's chair and over the green table, and 
with difficulty made the door through a very crowded 
house. When I came there, I found him lying 
stretched on the pavement of the passage with many 
people about him, among the rest his friend and 
mine, James Eussel the surgeon. With some diffi- 
culty I got near him, and whispered was it not a 
faint 1 " No, no," replied he, " it is all over." I returned 
to the house, and, resuming my place, gave out that 
there were hopes of his recovery. This composed the 
house, and the calling of the roll went on, when it 
was carried to reject the overture by a great majority. 
This was a deadly blow to the enemies of presenta- 

468 jardine's death. 

tions, for tliey had mustered all their strength, and 
had been strenuous in debate. Henry Dundas, how- 
ever, had now come to our aid, who was himself a 
match for all their lay forces, as Kobertson and a few 
friends were for all the bands of clergy. I was not 
a member. A party of us had been engaged to dine 
with Mr Dundas, but could not now go, as Dr Jar- 
dine was a near relation of his lady, who was delivered 
of her first child that nio-ht. 

Robertson was much dejected, as he had good rea- 
son. 1 immediately proposed to him and J. Home to 
send for a post-chaise and carry them out to Mussel- 
burgh, which was done directly, and which relieved 
us from all troublesome company. This death of Jar- 
dine was not only a breach in our society which we 
long felt, as John Jardine was one of the pleasantest 
of the whole, who played delightfully on the un- 
bounded curiosity and dupish simplicity of David 
Hume, but was a great support to Robertson and our 
friends in the management of ecclesiastical affairs, as 
he was the son-in-law of Provost Drummond, and 
kept him steady, who had been bred in the bosom of 
the Highflyers. And having had the management of 
the burgh of Lochmaben for Charles Erskine of Tin- 
wald at twenty-nine years of age, he acquired early 
that address and dexterity in managing men which 
could easily be applied to Edinburgh politics, though 
they were on a much greater scale. In politics he 
was artful, in other affairs quite trusty."' 

* Dr John Jardine, minister of the Trou Church parish, was born in 
Diunfriesshire in 1716. He was an active leader in the church courts, and 


As Jardiue, however, had one-third of the deanery, 
Kobertson availed himself of the vacancy to obtain it 
for Dr Drysdale, whose wife was one of the Adams' 
and Eobertsous' cousin-germau. This attached Drys- 
dale more to him, and made him apply assiduously 
to the correspondence with the distant clergy, which 
opened up to him a view of the clerkship of the 
Church, which he afterwards obtained. 

I said that the Schism Overture which we defeated 
was the last blow that was aimed at patronage, for 
whatever attempts were afterwards made were feeble 
and ineffective. There still remained, however, in the 
Assembly's instructions to their Commission, an article 
which was a constant reproach to the General Assem- 
bly — viz.. That they should watch for a convenient 
opportunity of applying to the King and Parliament 
for redress from the grievance of patronage. This 
was too much, at a time when almost every clerical 
member of Assembly had been settled by a presenta- 
tion. This, however, was not left out till Dr Eobert- 
son had retired from the conduct of our affairs, when, 
in the Assembly 17S4, I got it proposed by some of 
the elders, when, after some debate, it was carried to 
leave it out by a great majority. Next year there 
was a feeble attempt to restore the article in the In- 
structions, but this did not even raise a debate, and 
we heard no more of it. 

intimate with the great literary circle of Edinburgh ; but the only things 
he is known to have wTitten are contributions to the short-lived Edinburgh 
Iterifir, commenced in IToo. — Ed. 


1766-1768: AGE, 44-40. 






It was this year, in the month of August, that Dr 
Robertson having solicited me strongly to be of a 
party to the west country with him and the Honour- 
able James Stewart Montague, who was then attend- 
ing the College of Edinburgh, and lived in his house, 
I could not set out on the same day with them, but 
followed in the end of the week, and got to Dr AVight's, 
at Glasgow College, on Saturday, where I remained all 
next day, having got a little cold. He had now been 
for some time in the house allotted to his office, which, 
though one of the old ones, was convenient, and had 
several apartments, so that he could have room for 
two or three boarders. His youngest sister had now 
been with him for more than a year, and they lived 
very comfortably, which she, though but just turned 
of twenty, managed very well. I remained with them 
all Tuesday, and next day got to Caldwell (Baron 
Mure's) before dinner. We went next day to Lord 


Glasgow's, where we were joined by Mr Oliphant, 
afterwards Postmaster, who, with Baron Mure and 
Alexander M'^Iillan, Esq., W.S., were Lord Bute's 
commissioners or trustees for the manaojement of his 
estate. We had rode through a very hilly part of 
Renfrewshire to Kelburn, Lord Glasgow's seat, finely 
situated on the Clyde, almost opposite to Bute, about 
five or six miles distant, where the expanse of water 
is finely broken by the two islands of Cumbray, the 
first of which is not more than a mUe distant, while 
the channel for ships sailing up or down the Clyde 
lies between that island and the shore of Cunningham. 
We were very late of dining for that period, when the 
usual hour was two o'clock, but we sat long enough 
after dinner to loosen our landlords tongue, who, 
being in general a reserved and silent man, partly 
through modesty and partly through flat spirits, yet, 
after a long repast, became not only open and free, 
but truly eloquent. Baron Mure, though a very sen- 
sible man, was yet too great a friend of Lord Bute's 
to hear William Pitt extolled to the skies, which Lord 
Glasgow had casually done ; on which Mure made 
some tart remarks. This fired his lordship, who gave 
us a panegyric at last on Mr Pitt's character and 
administration, Avith as much force, energy, and elo- 
quence as that great man himself could have done, 
had he dealt in panegyric. His lordship was begin- 
ning to flag, and his audience to tire, when luckily we 
were called to supper. Eobertson whispered me, in 
going to the dining-room, that his powers had per- 


fectly astonished him. The presence of the ladies put 
an end to our political debate. We passed next day 
with his lordship, when we had such another exhibi- 
tion in the evening. We agreed among ourselves, 
that had it not been for his invincible modesty, which 
debarred him from ever entering the drawing-room at 
St James's, where he was sure of a good reception, for 
he had been wounded at the battle of Fontenoy, he 
might have made a very conspicuous appearance in 
the House of Lords. He was now the Lord High Com- 
missioner to the Assembly, and was a great favourite 
with us, not merely for his obliging manners and im- 
proved entertainment at his table, but for his attention 
to the business of the house, and his listening to and 
entering into the spirit of every debate. His lordship 
did not attend us to Bute, to which we sailed next day.* 
We remained six days in Bute, and passed our time 
veiy agreeably. Alexander M'Millan was one of the 
best landlords for a large company, for he was loud 
and joyful, and made the wine flow like Bacchus him- 
self. We passed the mornings (which were not so 
long as now, for they extended only to two o'clock, 
when dinner was on the table) in riding about the 
island, which we found very beautiful, though but 
little cultivated ; for besides a plantation around the 
house of Mount Stuart, of very fine trees, of a square 
mile, every little cottage had a dozen of trees around 
it. A Lady Bute, Avhile a widow, had got them 

* John Boyle, third Earl of Glasgow, of wlioai what was heretofore 
known is so scanty as to give much value to this sketch. — Ed. 


planted in every kailyard, as their little gardens are 
called, and tliey make a pleasing ornament. There is 
nothing like a hill but on Lord Bannatyne's estate on 
the north-east, where it is separated by a narrow 
strait called the Kyles of Bute. Eothesay, where stand 
the ruins of the old castle which gives a ducal title 
to the Prince of Wales, as it did anciently to the 
Prince of Scotland, is a finely-situated port, and has 
thriven amazingly since that period. We had to take 
an early dinner one day, and ride down there to be 
made free of the burgh, which cost us a hard drink of 
new claret. Mount Stuart is truly a fine place, with 
a charming view of the islands and opposite coast. 
The soil everywhere lies on sea-shells, so that they 
have the means of improvement at hand ; and being in 
shape like the convex of a Eoman shield, where the 
rain cannot lie, seemed everywhere capable of tillage. 
What was done about Mount Stuart and Eothesay 
gave great encouragement. AVe went to Kingarth 
Church on Sunday, where I lectured and Robertson 
preached. There are three parishes in the island, 
in two of which the ministers must have the Erse 

Our conversation at table was liberal and lively, as 
might be expected where there were so many sensible 
men ; for besides our company there were several 
other very able men, particularly a Mr Dunlop, a son 
of the Greek Professor's, at Glasgow, who was remark- 
ably knowing and good-humoured. The wine was 
excellent, and flowed freely. There was the best 


Cyprus I ever saw, which had lain there since Lord 
Bute had left the island in 1745. The claret was of 
the same age, and excellent. 

After we had been four days there, Eobertson took 
me into a window before dinner, and with some 
solemnity proposed to make a motion to shorten the 
drinking, if I would second him — "Because," added he, 
" although you and I may go through it, I am averse 
to it on James Stuart's account." I answered that I 
would willingly second whatever measure of that 
kind he should propose, but added that I was afraid 
it would not do, as our toastm aster was very despotic, 
and, besides, might throw ridicule upon us, as we 
were to leave the island the day after the next, and 
that we had not proposed any abridgment to the re- 
past till the old claret was all done, the last of which 
we had drunk yesterday. " Well, well," replied the 
Doctor, " be it so then, and let us end as we began." 

We left the island on the day we proposed, I in a 
boat, for Port-Glasgow, with the Postmaster, Oli- 
phant, as we could not join the rest to pass two days 
more at Lord Glasgow's (Kelburn) on their return, as 
they had promised. We got very rapidly to Port- 
Glasgow in the customhouse yacht, and to Glasgow 
on horseback early in the evening, where he visited 
his friends, and I remained with mine at the College 
that night and all next day. 

I was Moderator of the Synod this year. Webster 
having made it fashionable for even the Moderators 
of that court to give handsome suppers, it cost me 


five guineas ; but there being very few who could 
afford such expensive repasts, after having gone 
throuoh six or seven of us, this entertainment ceased, 
and the Moderators of the Synods were contented with 
small committees and meagre suppers, as they had been 
heretofore, and Webster, of course, absented from them. 
In December this year we made another journey to 
Newcastle, Mrs Carlyle being absolutely necessary to 
her sister when she lay in, or was at all ill. Blackett 
was but a dull man, and his cousin. Sir Walter B., 
no better, though rich, magnificent, and generous. 
The company about them were not very agreeable ; 
some of their bucks had humour, but they were 
illiterate and noisy. Two or three of their clergy 
could be endured, for they played well at cards, and 
were not pedantic. John AVithrington was then 
almost the only man who had any literature. Mr 
Moyse, a clergyman, was now master of the grammar- 
school, and being able and diligent in his profession, 
soon made a great change on the young natives of 
Newcastle ; insomuch, that soon after there issued 
from it several distinguished characters, such as Mr 
Chambers, a judge, I think, in India, or a professor 
of law at Oxford ; and the two Scotts, Sir William 
and his younger brother, the Chancellor of England.* 
Dr Akenside was also a native of that town, and had 
studied physic in Edinburgh in the years 1744-5. 
As he was of low descent, his father being a butcher, 
he stole through his native town incog, as often as he 

* Viz., Lord Stowell and Lord Eldon. — Ed. 


had occasion to pass, and never acknowledged bis 
relation to it. 

(l 767.) — This year nothing remarkable happened for 
several months. In the month [of August], Mrs Car- 
lyle not being very well, we went in our open chaise to 
visit our friend Mr Alexander Glen, at Galashiels, with 
our friend Dr Wight. I had been there before, but 
Mrs Carlyle never had, and was much delighted with 
the amenity of the place, as well as the kindness and 
hospitality of our landlord, who was not yet married. 
We visited Melrose Abbey to gratify Mrs Carlyle. 
Tlie fine pastoral stream of Gala falls into the Tweed 
a mile below the church and village, from whence 
four miles down the river stands the famous abbey 
of Melrose, the exquisite beauty of whose ruins is 
well supported by the romantic scenery around it. 
About a week before we arrived here, a waterspout 
had fallen into the mountain stream Slitterick, which 
joins the river Teviot at Hawick, which occasioned a 
great alarm there ; had broken down a bridge which 
joined the town to a street where the church stands ; 
had ruined a mill on the rivulet, and drowned one of 
the millers, and threatened the whole town with inun- 
dation ; but as it had come down in the night, it abated 
early in the forenoon. 

This phenomenon, so uncommon in this country, 
excited our curiosity, and we resolved to proceed to 
Hawick to see the effects of it. Mr Glen gladly ac- 
companied us, Wight and he being great companions. 

We set out in the morning, after an early breakfast. 


tliat we mioht reach Hawick some time before dinner. 
We had given notice to Laurie, the minister there, 
that we would dine with him and stay all night ; 
which information was necessary, as there were so 
many of us, although the fashion of men's sleeping in 
the same bed together was not yet at an end. After 
we passed the Tweed, near Selkirk, where the delight- 
ful streams of Ettrick and Yarrow fall into it from 
the fine pastoral valleys or glens which run parallel 
to each other to the summit of the country, the 
scenery was by no means interesting. Selkirk was 
then a very paltry town, and the fields around it very 
poorly cultivated, though now there is a very difierent 
face on both. Hawick is beautifully situated, and, 
though but an iU-budt town, very much resembles 
the famous city of Bath in its situation, being a close 
warm-lookinoj nest in the midst of surroundiuor hills, 
all but the openings made to the south and north of 
the town by the beautiful river Teviot, which runs 
within a quarter of a mile of it, and whose clear un- 
troubled stream, except when great rains descend, 
glides gently by, and like a mirror reflects the adjacent 
pastoral scenery. We visited the devastations made by 
Slitterick, which falls from the mountain in a tremen- 
dous torrent into Teviot, which was quite unmoved, 
as the two channels lay at right angles from each other 
We passed the day very pleasantly with Laurie and 
his wife, who was an old acquaintance of Mrs Carlyle's 
when they lived at Lanton, the next parish to Pol- 
warth, where she passed her infant years. Wight 


rallied Laurie not a little for his having delayed call- 
ing the people to prayers on the morning of the inun- 
dation, till he saw from his garden the flood a little 
abating ; and then continuing so long in prayer (for 
a full hour), when it had fallen so much that a man 
on horseback could pass below the mill, which the 
good people ascribed to the fervency of their pastor, 
and would have continued to believe in the efiicacy of 
his prayer, had not the surviving miller assured them 
that the inundation had fallen six inches before the 
church-bell rang. Laurie was perfectly pleased with 
so much address being ascribed to him, though he lost 
a little in the article of interest in heaven which was 
imputed to him. 

Laurie was an uncommon character. Dr John 
Armstrong and he were at college together, and one 
year, during the vacation, they joined a band of 
gypsies, who in those days much infested the Border. 
This expedition, which really took place, as Armstrong 
informed me in London, furnished Laurie with a fine 
field for fiction and rhodomontade, which was so 
closely united to the groundwork, which might be 
true, that it was impossible to discompound them. 
After Armstrong had settled in London for some 
time, Laurie went to visit him about 1739 or '40; on 
that he founded many marvellous stories of his inti- 
macy with secretaries of state and courtiers, with whom 
he pretended he had been quite familiar. When he 
alleged that he had been quite at his ease with the 
Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons 


at that time, and could call on them at any hour, and 
remain to dinner or supper without being invited, we 
used to call to him, " Halt there, Laurie ; if you don't 
know the boundary between truth and falsehood, you 
should draw the line between what is probable and 
what is not so." As, like a snowball, we gathered as 
we rolled along, he fixed himself upon us for the rest 
of the journey. 

We set out in the morning after breakfast, that we 
might reach Langholm, twenty-two miles off, in time 
for dinner, and travelled over a beautiful pastoral 
countr}% eleven miles to the top of the ridge beyond 
which the waters run south, whereas before their 
course is north and east. The road had been finished 
some time before, and was so perfectly good and well 
laid out that irr my open chaise I could keep at the 
trot both down and up the whole way. The first 
place we passed was the seat of Dr Langlands, M.D., 
a Yery pleasing place, about a mile above Hawick on 
the Teviot ; of late it was in possession of Lord Napier, 
and much improved by him, and is now bought by 
James Anderson, Esq., a younger brother of St Ger- 
mains. In a mile or two farther we reached the fine 
seat of the family of Buccleuch, the Castle of Branx- 
holm, which an ancestor of that family exchanged. 
When we got to the top of the ridge, we stopped to 
feed our horses at a rural inn, kept by a curious fellow 
called Kob Achison, with whom we had not conversed 
many minutes when we discovered the cause of his 
being reduced from the condition of an opulent far- 


mer to that of the keeper of a mere halting-place to 
divide a long stage. Kobert had been a Border rake 
or buck of the first head in his younger days, and to 
wit and humour, of which he had abundance, he added 
a sufficient portion of address and impudence, which 
he carried with an air of careless indifference. He 
had eloquence enough, however, to make us both eat 
and drink in liis house, for the first of which he was 
but ill provided ; but he soon made us understand, 
by the scurrility which he poured out against those 
who had passed his house without calling for some- 
thing besides corn for their horses, how we should be 
treated for the entertainment of the next who came, 
so we took a sorry repast with Eobert, and drank of 
his liquors. 

The slope from this to Langholm is just eleven miles, 
and the road excellent ; the country was exceedingly 
picturesque, though then without trees, and full of 
sheep, which, as the young Duke of Buccleuch and his 
Duchess were daily expected, had been taught to line 
the road daily through which they were to pass, that 
they might see wherein the riches of the land consisted. 
As it was now in the beginning of August, the fields 
had a fine variegated cloak of verdure ; for as the ferns, 
or brackens, as they are called here, were now in j^er- 
fection, and of a different shade from tlie grass, they 
looked like a large curtain or mantle of green silk 

We arrived in the evening at Langholm, where the 
villaofe is situated at the confluence of the two streams 



of Ewes and Wauchope with the Esk, which from 
thence flows, after being almost doubled by the Lid- 
die, through delightful scenery, to the Solway Firth, 
which with it makes the western boundary between 
England and Scotland. 

It was too late to attempt to see the castle, so we 
sent immediately for John Dickie the minister, who 
was an old bachelor, and who had such a mixture of 
odd qualities in his composition, such as priggism and 
pedantry, with the affectation of being a finished 
gentleman ; very sanctimonious in his manners, with 
a desire of being thought free and liberal in his senti- 
ments ; not without a portion of knowledge, but more 
proud of it than Dr Bentley, or Purdie the school- 
master. As Mrs Carlyle had never seen him before, 
she was highly diverted with him ; and having in a 
moment discovered all his weaknesses, she met them 
in so caressing and encouraging a manner that he 
would have leapt over the house to serve her ; and 
before he left us at twelve to go home, he became her 
sworn knight-errant. To make her conquest complete 
over the little man, she would not let him go till a 
horse was got ready for an ostler to conduct him 
through the water. Laurie and Glen thought this 
carrying her coquetry too far, but Wight and I knew 
better ; for she was of that turn of mind, that if any- 
thino; had befallen the little man, as he had got 
enough of wine, and had no better seat than a clue on 
a horse, she would never have forgiven herself. With 
all his imperfections he was good-natured and social, 



which after a banquet never failed to appear. He had 
a young mare which he wished to sell, and was going 
to send it to be sold at Hawick or Jedburgh, when, 
hearing there was to be a fair at Carlisle next day, 
and that we were deliberating about going or not, 
when somebody happened to say that Carlisle w^as 
the best place, and that we would all go there ; — Mrs 
Carlyle immediately said, " I will consent to go if you 
will be so good as accompany us." The honest soul 
instantly yielded, and we all resolved to go, now 
amounting to five gentlemen and a lady, with only 
one servant. 

We set out next morning, and had a very agree- 
able ride down the river Esk for seven or eight miles, 
through a valley finely covered with young planta- 
tions. We stopped at Longtown, where there is a fine 
bridge over the Esk, which has saved many a life 
which was annually lost in passing very dangerous 
fords of the river a mile or two lower down ; and, 
crossing some sands in the channel of the Frith of 
Sol way, where the traveller was frequently overtaken 
by the rapidity of the tide, we arrived at Carlisle 
before dinner, and found the town as much crowded 
as curious travellers could wish, as there was not 
only a great fair holding on this day, but the Judges 
were in town, and a set of players to entertain the 
company. The King's Arms w^as so much crowded 
that we were obliged to resort to the large dining- 
room, which was crowded like a cofieehouse. But as 
the company, consisting chiefly of country lads and 


lasses, were all to disperse in the evening, we were able 
to secure beds, which was the chief point in view. 

After strolling about the town a while I attempted 
to go into the court -bouse, which was so much 
crowded and so hot that I only remained a few 
minutes in the outskirts, where I heard my friend 
Wedderburn pleading as well as he could under a 
severe hoarseness. We returned to the inn, where we 
found Governor Johnstone, and John Scotland, min- 
ister of Westerkirk, with our friends. Johnstone was 
employed in canvassing the citizens, and Scotland 
had come with a Dunfermline friend on purpose to 
see Mt Wedderburn. The Governor told us of the 
players, and we all set out immediately to try for 
places, but it was so much crowded that we were dis- 
appointed, and obliged to return. Laurie, however, 
remained after the rest, when he had a quarrel with a 
very drunken squire of the name of Dacres, who had 
insulted him with foul lancruaore. which Laurie re- 
turned with a blow, forgetting that he was now in a 
country where a breach of the peace is much more 
dangerous. Dacres attempted to have him committed, 
but Laurie made his escape, and Johnstone having in- 
terfered and said it was only a drunken Scotch parson 
who had been riotous, and was ignorant of English 
laws, who had broken the peace, he got Dacres paci- 
fied, and we heard no more of it. 

The Governor had promised to sup with us, and I 
proposed sending to Mr Wedderburn ; but Scotland 
said it was needless, as he had seen him, and found 


him preparing to go to bed, as he was very hoarse. I 
wrote him a note, however, telling him that Mrs Car- 
lyle and Wight and I were there, and that Governor 
Johnstone had promised to sup with us, and that I 
would infallibly cure his hoarseness before to-morrow 
morning. His answer was that he would be with us 
in half an hour. He was as good as his word, but 
was very hoarse. The supper was good enough, but 
the liquors were execrable — the wine and porter were 
not drinkable. AVe then made a bowl of the worst 
punch I ever tasted. Wedderburn said, if we would 
mix it with a bottle of the bad porter, it would be 
improved. AVe did as he directed, and to our surprise 
it became drinkable, and we were a jolly company. 
The counsellor did not forget the receipt to cure his 
hoarseness. This was nothing more than some cas- 
tile soap shaven into a spoon and mixed with some 
white wine or water, so that it could be swallowed. 
This he took, and returned to us at nine next morn- 
ing perfectly cured, and as sound as a bell. 

Dickie having sold his mare, we returned by the 
road we came, and, passing one night at Hawick, and 
one at Galashiels, arrived at home with AVight next 
night, and found all well. It is remarkable that I re- 
member very exactly most of the circumstances on 
going from home even on a long journey, but that 
on returning I can seldom find any trace of them on 
my memory, and all seems a blank. Is this owing 
to the imagination being fully occupied with the 
thoughts of home, which are always agreeable? Or is 


it owing to the eagerness and curiosity with which 
one begins a journey, and the rising hopes of new 
pleasures and amusements, and the drowsy and in- 
active state of the imagination as you return ? 

The young Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch were 
expected at this time to arrive in Scotland to take 
possession of their fine estate in the south, and their 
palace at Dalkeith as their chief residence. They 
were eagerly expected over all the country where we 
had been, great part of which, from Tweedside to the 
borders of Cumberland, was the property of that noble 
family. There had been a long minority, for this 
duke's grandfather had died in 1752, and his son, 
Lord Dalkeith, two years before him. The family 
had been kind to their tenants, and the hopes of the 
country were high that this new possessor of so large 
a property might inherit the good temper and bene- 
volence of his progenitors. I may anticipate what 
was at first only guessed, but came soon to be known, 
that he surpassed them all as much in justice and 
humanity as he did in superiority of understanding 
and good sense. 

The Duke and Duchess, with Lady Frances Scott, 
the Duke's sister, arrived at Dalkeith in the beginninor 
of September, where his Grace had never been before, 
being withheld by Charles Townshend, his father-in- 
law, lest he should become too fond of Scotland. This 
stratagem was defeated by the Duke's sagacity, for he 
discovered on his journey through his own great 
estate, from the marked attention of the people, that 


he would be a mucli greater man in this country, and 
would have a much more extensive range for his 
benevolence than he could possibly have in the south, 
where his own estates were small, and where there 
was such a number of more opulent lords, his rivals 
in all the attributes of true nobility. 

In order to make the Duke and Duchess feel more 
impressively the attachment of their vassals and 
tenants in the south, I wrote a copy of verses on the 
birthday of the former, which I had copied in another 
hand, and sent on the morning of that day. It was 
some time before they could guess that I was the 
author ; and one of their tenants had for a while the 
credit of it. I had by good-luck truly predicted, by 
way of advice, what her Grace became, but no pre- 
diction could then reach the extent of her merit. 
The verses were sent to the Scots Magazine, where 
Dr Gregory read them, and suspected me for the 
author. When I next saw him, he asked me, and I 
owned them, when he said they were very good — too 
good for the subject, for they would never act up to 
the strain of praise in that poem. " Do you know 
them. Doctor 1 " " No," answered he, " but Mrs Mon- 
tague does ; and she says that, though very good 
young people, they have no energy of character, and 
will remain obscure and insignificant." "Mrs Mon- 
tague's line, then, is too short, my good Doctor : you 
may trust me to measure their depth, and you will 
live to see that her discernment on this occasion has 
failed her." Gregory, with many good qualities, had 


SO much of the apothecary about him, that he did not 
tliink much of anybody who was not likely to fre- 
quent his shop. He knew that Smith would recom- 
mend both Cullen and Black to be their physician in 
ordinary rather than him.* 

Between their arrival at Dalkeith and his Grace's 
birthday, the 13th of September, the Eight Honour- 
able Charles Townshend died, after an illness of a few 
days, of an inflammation in his bowels. This event 
obliged them to postpone the celebration of the birth- 
day, when they were to have had an entertainment 
for all their friends. This sudden death affected the 
Duke and his sister very differently. She, who had 
been bred up under him from the fourth or fifth year 
of her asje, and had found in him an enlightened 
instructor and a kind protector, felt all the grief which 
a dutiful child feels for an indulgent parent ; but the 
Duke, who had been very little at home during JMr 
Townshend's marriage with his mother, and whose 
more ripened discernment had probably disclosed to 
him his father-in-law's defects as well as his shining 
qualities, was much less afflicted on this melancholy 
occasion^ and was heard to say, a few days after the 
news, that though he sincerely regretted Mr Town- 
shend's premature death, yet to him it was attended 
with the consolation that it left him at liberty to 
choose his own line of life, for had Mr Townshend 

* For infonnation about Cxillen, Black, and the other eminent men of the 
medical school of Scotland often nientionetl in these pages, it is fortimate 
that the Life of CuUeiiy begun by Dr Jehn Thomson, and continued by big 
son, has now been completed by Dr Craigie, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859. — Ed. 


survived, he miglit have been drawn into the vortex of 
politics much against his will. Such was the sound- 
ness of this young nobleman's mind at an early age, 
from whence a discerning observer might predict the 
excellence of that character which gradually evolved 
on his admiring countrymen. 

In two or three weeks the day came when they 
were to see company, and when they assembled by 
cards about fifty ladies and gentlemen of their friends 
and the neighbourhood, of whom few indeed were 
ladies, as they were hardly yet acquainted with any- 
body. The fare was sumptuous, but the company was 
formal and dull. Adam Smith, their only familiar at 
table, was but ill qualified to promote the jollity of a 
birthday, and their Graces were quite inexperienced. 
The Duke, indeed, had been more than two years in 
France, and four months in London since he came 
home, but he was backward at that time to set him- 
self forward, and showed a coldness and reserve which 
often in our superiors is thought to be pride. Had it 
not been for Alexander M'Millan, W.S., and myself, 
the meeting would have been very dull, and might 
have been dissolved without even drinking the health 
of the day. After that health and a few more toasts 
had gone round, and the ladies had moved, and 
M'Millan and his companions at a by-table had got 
into the circle, we got into spirits that better suited 
the occasion. The Duchess at that time was ex- 
tremely beautiful ; her features were regular, her com- 
plexion good, her black eyes of an impressive lustre, 


and her mouth, when she spoke, uncommonly grace- 
ful. The expression of her countenance was that of 
good sense and serenity ; she had been bred in too 
private a way, which made her shy and backward, 
and it was some time before she acquired ease in com- 
pany, which at last enabled her to display that supe- 
riority of understanding which led all the female 
virtues in its train, accompanied with the love of 
mii-th, and all the graces of colloquial intercourse. 
Her person was light, though above the common 
height, but active and elegant. 

Smith remained with them for two months, and 
then returned to Kirkcaldy to his mother and his 
studies. I have often thought since, that if they had 
brought down a man of more address than he was, 
how much sooner their first appearance might have 
been ; their own good sense and discernment enabled 
them sooner to draw round them as familiars a better 
set of people of their own choosing, than could have 
been picked out for them by the assistance of an aide- 

By means of an established custom of their prede- 
cessors, they had two public days in the week, when 
everybody who pleased came to dine with them. But 
that on Thursday was soon cut o£P, and Saturday was 
their only public day. But it would have been far 
better if that day had been also abolished, and if, in 
place of that, they had taken to invited companies, 
which might have been well assorted, and might have 
prevented all that dulness, and even solemnity, which 


overclouded large companies little acquainted, and sel- 
dom capable of making a company of a score tolerably 
agreeable. I must aver, however, without pretending 
to uncommon discernment, that I soon discovered in 
both that superior understanding, and that uncommon 
degree of humanity, as well as the highest sense of 
probity and virtue, which have made them a blessing 
and honour to their country for many years past. 
For the Duke's uncommon abilities, as well as his 
piiblic spirit, became ere long as conspicuous in the 
exercise of more honourable offices of trust, which fell 
on him unsought, as his unassuming and familiar 
manners made him appear a complete gentleman in 
all the intercourse of private life. The family, though 
rich and great, had long been in a state of obscurity 
through want of talents and long minorities. In this 
Duke was revived the character which Sir James Mel- 
ville gave his renowned predecessor in Queen Mary's 
reign — " Walter Scot of Buccleugh, wise and true, 
stout and modest." * 

No two characters I ever have know^n are so free 
of defects as that noble pair, while each in their de- 
partment displayed such talents and virtues as made 
their numerous descendants not only happy in them- 
selves, but also trained them up in the habitual dispo- 
sition to become blessings to all their ow"n connections 
to the latest posterity. 

The Duke's sister, I>ady Frances, though far from 

* "Quliilk Lard of Baclouch was a man of rai-e qualites, \vyse, trew, 
stout, and modest." — Melville's Memoirs, 240. — Ed 


handsome, or in any respect attractive in her person, 
though then only seventeen, showed the opening of 
that character which she has since so fully displayed 
as Lady Douglas. She had taste and knowledge in 
the belles-lettres, a pleasant vein of ridicule, without 
the least grain of malignity ; for she, like her brother, 
was the very milk of human-kindness. 

As I had been intimately acquainted with Charles 
Townshend, her father-in-law, who protected her from 
domestic tyranny, and had even opened her mind by his 
instructions, she took readily to me, and I soon became 
intimate with her, and kept up a correspondence with 
her, both in prose and verse, which conduced to our 
amusement. The prosperity and happiness of Lord 
Douglas's family, which consisted of three sons and 
one dauorhter, demonstrated the excellence of her do- 
mestic character. It was remarkable that she was the 
first female descendant of the Duchess of Monmouth 
and Buccleuch who was married. 

I had been Moderator of the Synod in November 
1766, and opened the S}Tiod in May 1767 with a 
sermon, which was printed. The window-tax was 
now levied, which gave a serious alarm to the clergy : 
there was a standing committee of Assembly, which 
had hitherto done nothing effectual. As I had been 
the champion for resisting payment of the tax, I was 
obliged to bestir myself very much about it ; and as 
Dr Robertson was of opinion we ought to submit to 
it, I had uphni work with it. 

(1 768.) — Towards the end of January this year it was 


that Mrs Carlisle and I accompanied her aunt and uncle 
to visit their son Walter Home, then a lieutenant in 
the 7th Regiment, and lying at Glasgow. AValter had 
a chum of the name of Mainwaring, a very agreeable 
young man. As Dr Wight was now fully established 
in Glasgow, and had one of his sisters for his house- 
keeper, he was very hospitable and popular, and we 
met daily several of the Professors, who were able 
men, and had agreeable conversation, — such as Alex- 
ander Steyenson and John Millar. This last had 
even begun to distinguish himself by his democratical 
principles, and that sceptical philosophy which young 
noblemen and gentlemen of legislative rank carried 
into the world with them from his law -class, and, 
many years afterwards, particularly at the period of 
the French Revolution, displayed with popular zeal, to 
the no small danger of perversion to all those under 
their influence. I had a hint of this from Dr Wight 
before 1782, when he died, who added, that though 
some sound heads might find antidotes to this poison 
before they went into the world, and see in the British 
constitution all that is valuable in a democracy, with- 
out its defects and faults, yet, as it was connected 
with lax principles in religion, there might be not a 
few of such a contexture of understanding as could 
not be cured. Millar lived to the end of the century.* 
I met with a strong proof of what is contained in 
the above paragraph respecting Professor Millar a long 

* Author of the once very celebrated Historical Vieiv of tlie Enylish 
Oovernment, and of Obseroatlons Conceruinj tfie Distinction of Banks. — Ep. 


time afterwards, when dining with Robert Colt, Esq., 
then residing at Inveresk. I don't exactly remember 
the year, but I think it was before the war of 1798. 
There was nobody with Mr Colt but a brother-in-law 
of his, when we were joined by the late Sir Hew Dal- 
rymple of North Berwick, who had dined in Edin- 
burgh. After consenting to stay all night. Sir Hew 
said, "Colt, was not you a student of law for two 
years with Millar at Glasgow \ '' " Yes, I was," an- 
swered :Mr Colt. " Then," replied Sir Hew, " I find I 
am right ; and as my Hew has been four years at St 
Andrews, and seems now desirous of following the 
law, I have been advised to send him to ^Miliar, and 
have come to consult you about it." "We'll talk 
about that coolly to-morrow morning. Sir Hew; in 
the mean time, give me your toast." I knew well the 
meaning of this reserve ; and a few days afterwards 
meeting ^[r Colt, " Well," said I, " did you settle your 
friend Sir Hew's mind about sending his son to Glas- 
gow ?" " Yes," answered he, " and youll hear no more 
of that project." This Mr Colt was an able and a 
worthy man, but he was shy and reserved, and died, 
unknown but to a few, in the year 17.97. He had 
overcome many disadvantages of his education, for 
he had been sent to a Jacobite seminary of one 
Elphinstone at Kensington, where his body was 
starved, and his mind also. He returned to Edin- 
burgh to college. He had hardly a word of Latin, 
and was obliged to work hard with a private tutor. 
At Glasgow, to be sure, he learned public law, but 


took in poison with it, which he had strength of un- 
derstanding to expel, as well as to overcome many 
other disadvantages. 

Lieutenant Walter Home, before the end of the 
American war, was major of the 42d Kegiment, was 
an able man and an excellent officer ; he was the 
ablest of all the family, except Robert the clergyman, 
although his third brother Roddam, the admiral, got 
to a higher rank. By means of my old connections 
at Glasgow and Dr Wight's friends, we were feasted 
and every way well entertained there. Nothing coidd 
surpass the satisfaction Mr and Mrs Home had in 
seeing their son so well received in the best society 
in Glasgow. In those days the members of the minis- 
try, excepting a very few indeed, were the only people 
of liberal conversation in that city. 

Drs Blair and Robertson were at London this year 
during the time of the Assembly — the first to visit 
London for the first and only time in his life ; the 
second to transact with his bookseller for his History 
of Charles V., Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, 
and to enjoy the fame of his former publication. Dr 
Robertson was introduced to the first company in Lon- 
don, as all the people of fashion, both male and female, 
were eager to see the historian of Queen Mary, who 
had given them so much pleasure. He did not dis- 
appoint their expectation, for though he spoke broad 
Scotch in point of pronunciation and accent or tone, 
his was the language of literature and taste, and of an 
enlightened and liberal mind. Dr Blair exhibited in 


a much narrower circle, for nothing of his having been 
yet published but his Dissertation on Ossian, he had 
raised but little curiosity ; and excepting the family of 
Northumberland, a son of which. Lord Algernon Piercy, 
had been three years under his roof at the university, 
he hardly was known to any of the English nobility 
or gentry, and depended chiefly for his entertainment 
there on such literary people as he had seen at Edin- 
burgh, or was introduced to by Dr Blair of Westmin- 
ster, or James M'Pherson, the translator of Ossicui* 

Blair had taken charge of Lord Glasgow, the King's 
Commissioner, during the General Assembly, who, 
though he was a very able man, had so much distrust 
in himself that he could not compose his own speeches. 
This service was laid upon me, and I had much plea- 
sure in the close communication which this gave me 
with his lordship, as it opened to me a near view of 
uncommon talents and exalted mind, of the service of 
which the world was in great measure deprived by the 
most insuperable diffidence and modesty .f 

I was a member of the Assembly this year, in which 
there was little business of any consequence. Henry 
Dundas, who was now well known there, took an 
attentive charge of it, and leaned on me as his best 
clerical assistant. 

* His " Lectures on Rhetoric," as delirered to his class, though not then 
published, had obtained considerable colloquial celebrity. It was not until 
1777 that he became famous by the publication of his Sermons. — Ed. 

t See above, p. 472. 


1769-1770 : AGE, 47-48. 











The window-tax alarmed the clergy more and more, 
and as I had been the great champion in maintaining 
on every occasion that the Scottish clergy Ly our law 
ought to be exempted from this tax, on the same 
grounds on which they are exempted from paying the 
land-tax for their glebes, while one of our meetings 
were deliberating what was to be done, I told them 
that as I intended to be in London in the spring on 
private business, I would very gladly accept of any 
commission they would give me, to state our claim to 
the King's Ministers, and particularly to the Lords of 


the Treasury ; and at least to prepare the way for an 
application for exemption to the Parliament in the 
following year, in case it should be found expedient. 
Robertson, who had thought it more advisable to pay 
rather than resist any longer, was surprised into con- 
sent with this sudden proposal of mine, and frankly 
agreed to it, though he told me privately that it 
would not have success. The truth was, that Mrs 
Carlyle's health was so indifferent that I became 
uneasy, and wished to try Bath, and to visit London, 
where she never had been, on our way. The clergy 
were highly pleased with my offer of service without 
any expense, and I was accordingly commissioned, in 
due form, by the Committee on the Window-Tax, to 
carry on this affair. We prepared for our journey, 
and set out about the middle of February. We had 
the good fortune to get Martin, the portrait-painter, 
and Bob Scott, a young physician, as our companions 
on our journey. This made it very pleasant, as Mar- 
tin was a man of uncommon talents for conversation. 
We stopped for two days with the Blacketts at New- 
castle, and then went on by Huntingdon, and after 
that to Cambridge. As I had not been there when I 
was formerly in London, I was desirous to see that 
famous university; and besides, had got a warm 
exhortation from my friend Dr Robertson, to diverge 
a little from the straight line, and go by Hockwell, 
where there were the finest eels in all England . We 
took that place in our way, and arrived long enough 
before dinner to have our eels dressed in various ways ; 

2 I 


but though the spitch-cocked had been so highly recom- 
mended by our friend, we thought nothing of them, and 
Mrs Carlyle could not taste them, so that we had all to 
dine on some very indifferent mutton-broth, which had 
been ordered for her. I resolved after this never to 
turn off the road by the advice of epicures. 

We got to Cambridge in the dark, but remained 
all next forenoon, and saw all the public buildings, 
some of which are very fine, particularly King's Col- 
lege Chapel. As none of us had any acquaintances 
there that we knew of, we were not induced to stay any 
longer, and so made the best of our way to London. 

My youngest sister Janet, a beautiful, elegant, and 
pleasing young woman, having gone to London to 
visit her married sister, had herself married, in 1760, 
a gentleman who had been captain of a trading vessel 
in the Mediterranean, and, having been attacked by a 
French or Spanish privateer, took her after a short 
engagement * He was a very sensible clever man, 
much esteemed by his companions, and had become 
insurance-broker. On our arrival in London, there- 
fore, which was on the 11th February, we took up 
our residence at their house, which was in Alderman- 
bury. They had also a country-house, where their 

* See Scots Magazine, December 1759 : — 

"captures by privateers, etc. 

" By the i?rrt(70«, Bell, and tlie Greyhound, Dewar, both from London, 
Le Pendant, Jos. Geruliard, from St Domingo ; earned into Gibraltar." 

See also the Caledonian Mercury, 15th December 1759 : — 

"The Dragon, Bell, and the Greyhound, Dewar, both from London, are 
arrived at Gibraltar, and have carried a French prize with them." — Note 
apjiended to the MS. 


children resided the whole year, and where they spent 
the summer months ; and being only nine miles from 
London, with a very good road, my brother-in-law 
could easily ride every day to attend to his business, 
and return to dinner. Merton was a very agreeable 
place. The house had been originally built by Lord 
Eglinton, and soon after forsaken and sold.' There 
was a large garden of three acres, divided into three 
parts, and planted with the best fruit-trees, on which, 
when I afterwards saw it in the season, I said there 
were more peaches and apricots than grew then in 
Midlothian ; for I well remember that [there were 
very few] till we had hothouses here, which had then 
only had a beginning, by Lord Chief Baron Ord, at the 
Dean, and Baron Stuart Moncrieff, and were not in 
great numbers till 1780. 

About the third night after we came, we went with 
the Bells to the Scotch dancing assembly, which then 
met in the King's Arms Tavern, in Cheapside, where 
we met many of our acquaintance, and were intro- 
duced to several others with whom we were not before 
acquainted. I was glad to find from them all that 
my brother-in-law was in high esteem among them as 
a man of business, not only for his integrity, but his 
aptitude for business. My sister was much admired 
as a fine woman, and no less for the elegance and pro- 
priety of her manners than for her handsome face 
and fine person. He had the good-luck to be called 
Honest Tom, in distinction to another who frequented 
Lloyd's Coffeehouse, who was not in so much favour, 


and was besides a very hot Wilkite. After a few days 
more we were invited to a fine subscription-dinner in 
the London Tavern, where there was a company of 
about fifty ladies and gentlemen. The dinner was 
sumptuous, but I was not much delighted with the 
conversation. The men, especially, were vulgar and 
uneducated ; and most of the English among them 
violent Wilkites, and gave toasts of the party kind, 
which showed their breeding where the majority were 
Scotch. It was with some difficulty that I could get 
Honest Tom to treat their bad manners with ridicule 
and contempt, rather than with rage and resentment. 
Having now been near a week in London, it was 
proper that I should give a commencement to the 
business which I had undertaken; I therefore applied 
myself to making the necessary calls on Dr Gordon of 
the Temple, a Scotch solicitor-at-law, and the Lord 
Advocate for Scotland, and whoever else I thought 
might be of use. I had drawn a short memorial on 
the business which Dr Gordon approved, but wished 
it to be left with him for corrections and additions. 
This I did, but was surprised to find, when he returned 
it several weeks after as fit to be sent to the press, 
that there was hardly any change on it at all. But I 
was still more surprised, when calling on the Lord 
Advocate (James Montgomery, Esq.), and opening 
the affair to him, to hear him answer that he wished 
me success with all his heart, but could give me no 
aid ; for, he added, that when the clergy were lately 
in four years' arrears, thfe payment of which would 


have greatly distressed them, Dr Robertson had come 
to him in Edinburgh, and had strongly interceded 
with him to get that arrear excused, and he would 
answer for the punctual payment by the clergy in 
future. He had, accordingly, on this promise, applied 
to the Duke of Grafton, then First JMinister, and ob- 
tained what the Doctor had asked on the condition 
promised. In this state of things it was impossible 
that he could assist me as Lord Advocate, but that, 
as a private gentleman, he would do all he could ; that 
was, to introduce me to the Minister, to speak of me 
as I deserved, and to say that he thought the petition 
I brought very reasonable, and agreeable to the law of 
Scotland. All this he punctually fulfilled, for he was 
an honourable man. 

The Church of Scotland had been at all times very 
meanly provided ; and even when they were serving 
their country with the utmost fidelity and zeal at the 
time of the Restoration, and ever afterwards support- 
ing that part of the aristocracy which resisted the en- 
croachments of the Crown and maintained the liberties 
of the people — even then their most moderate requests 
to be raised above poverty were denied."' After the 
union of the crowns, and even after that of the leons- 
latures, they have, on every application for redress, 
been scurvily treated. The history of our country 
bears the strongest testimony of their loyalty to the 
king, while they warmly opposed every appearance of 

* \\Tiether or not the author meant to say Reformation, the word Resto- 
ration must have been a slij*. — Ed. 


arbitrary power even to persecution and death. They 
were cajoled and flattered by the aristocracy when 
they wanted their aid, but never relieved, till Crom- 
well considered their poverty, and relieved them for 
the time. Yet, after Presbytery was finally settled at 
the Eevolution, the clergy were allowed almost to 
starve till, down in our own time, in the year 1790, 
a generous and wise man was raised to the President's 
chair, who, being also President of that Court when 
it sits as a committee of Parliament for the aug- 
mentation of ministers' stipends, with the concur- 
rence of his brethren had redressed this grievance, 
and enabled the clergy and their families to survive 
such years of dearth as the 1799 and 1800, which, 
but for that relief, must have reduced them to ruin. 
This happened by good-luck while the land estates 
in Scotland were doubled and tripled in their rents, 
otherwise it could not have been done without a 
clamorous opposition.* 

It is observable that no country has ever been more 
tranquil, except the trifling insurrections of 1715 and 
'4.5, than Scotland has been since the Eevolution in 
1688 — a period of 117 years; while, at the same time, 
the country has been prosperous, with an increase of 
agriculture, trade, and manufactures, as well as all the 
ornamental arts of life, to a degree unexampled in any 
age and country. How far the steady loyalty to the 
Crown, and attachment to the constitution, together 

* The Lord President of the Court of Session here referred to is ISir Hay 
Campbell. This matter is again alhided to, p. 527. — Ed. 

DR DODD. 503 

with the unwearied diligence of the clergy in teach- 
ing a rational religion, may have contributed to this 
prosperity, cannot be exactly ascertained; but surely 
enough appears to entitle them to the high respect of 
the State, and to justice from the country, in a decent 
support to them and to their families, and, if possible, 
to a permanent security like that of the Church of 
England, by giving the clergy a title to vote on their 
livings for the member of Parliament for the county, 
which woidd at once raise their respect, and, by mak- 
ing them members of the State, would for ever secure 
their interest in it, and firmly cement and strengthen 
the whole. 

Before I began my operations relative to the win- 
dow-tax, I witnessed somethinor memorable. It beino; 
much the fashion to go on a Sunday evening to a 
chapel of the Magdalen Asylum, we went there on the 
second Sunday we were in London, and had difficulty 
to get tolerable seats for my sister and wife, the crowd 
of genteel people was so great. The preacher was Dr 
Dodd, a man afterwards too well known. The unfor- 
tunate young women were in a latticed gallery, where 
you could only see those who chose to be seen. The 
preacher's text was, *' If a man look on a woman to 
lust after her," &c. The text itself was shocking, and 
the sermon was composed with the least possible deli- 
cacy, and was a shocking insult on a sincere penitent, 
and fuel for the warm passions of the hypocrites. The 
fellow was handsome, and delivered his discourse 
remarkablv well for a reader. AVhen lie had finished, 


there were unceasing whispers of applause, whicli I 
could not help contradicting aloud, and condemning 
the whole institution, as well as the exhibition of the 
preacher, as conty^a honos mores, and a disgrace to a 
Christian city. 

On the day after this I went to the House of Peers, 
and heard Sir Fletcher Norton's pleading on the 
Douglas Cause, on the side of Douglas, but in a man- 
ner inferior to what I expected from his fame : but 
this was not a question of law, but of fact, I dined 
and supped next day with Colonel Dow, who had 
translated well the History of Hindustan, and wrote 
tolerably well the Tragedy of Zingis. As James 
M'Pherson, the translator of Ossian, and he lived to- 
gether, and as his play, in point of diction and man- 
ners, had some resemblance to the poems of Ossian, 
there were not a few who ascribed the tragedy to 
M'Pherson ; but such people did not know that, could 
M'Pherson have claimed it, he was not the man to 
relinquish either the credit or profits which might 
arise from it, for the tragedy ran its nine nights. 

Dow was a Scotch adventurer who had been bred 
at the school of Dunbar, his father being in the Cus- 
toms there, and had run away from his apprenticeship 
at Eyemouth, and found his way to the East Indies, 
where, having a turn for languages, which had been 
fostered by his education, he soon became such a 
master of the native tongue as to accelerate his pre- 
ferment in the army, for he soon had the command of 
a regiment of sepoys. He was a sensible and know- 


ing man, of very agreeable manners, and of a mild 
and gentle disposition. As lie was telling us that 
niorht, that, when he had the charoje of the Great 
Mogul, with two regiments under his command, at 
Delhi, he was tempted to dethrone the monarch, and 
mount the throne in his stead, which he said he could 
easily have done : — when I asked him what prevented 
him from yielding to the temptation, he gave me this 
memorable answer, that it was reflecting on what his 
old schoolfellows at Dunbar would think of him for 
being guilty of such an action. His company were 
Dr John Douglas and Garrick, the two MThersons, 
John Home, and David Hume who joined us in the 

I have before, I believe, given some account of 
them all but Robert ]?J'Pherson, the chaplain, whom 
I had not known till now. Though not a man of 
genius, he was a man of good sense, of a firm and 
manly mind, and of much worth and honour. He 
was a younger brother of M'Pherson of Banchors, a 
man near the head of the clan in point of birth, but 
not of a large fortune. He had been bred at Aber- 
deen for the Church, but before he passed trials as a 
probationer, he had been offered a company in his 
regiment of Highlanders by Simon Fraser, and had 
accepted. But when the regiment rendezvoused at 

* Colonel Alexander Dow is known as the translator and continuer of 
the Persian History of Hindoatan, and the writer of Tales from the Persian, 
and of another tragedy besides hLs Zingis, called Sethona. The editor is 
not aware, however, of any other source of information about the i)ersonal 
adventures referred to in the text — EId. 


Greenock, he was told, with many fair speeches, that 
the captains' commissions were all disposed of, much 
against the colonel's will, but that he might have a 
lieutenancy, or the chaplainry if he liked it better. 
M'Pherson chose the last, and took orders immedi- 
ately from the Presbytery of Lochcarron, where he 
returned for ten days. He soon made himself accept- 
able to the superiors as well as to the men, and after 
they landed in Nova Scotia, in every skirmish or 
battle it was observed that he always put himself on 
a line with the officers at the head of the regiment. 
He was invited to the mess of the field officers, where 
he continued. On hearing this from General Murray, 
I asked him [M'Pherson] if it was true. He said it 
was. How came you to be so foolish 1 He answered, 
that being a grown man, while many of the lieutenants 
and ensigns were but boys, as well as some of the pri- 
vates, and that they looked to him for example as well 
as precept, he had thought it his duty to advance with 
them, but that he had discontinued the practice after 
the third time of danger, as he found they were per- 
fectly steady. 

Dining with him, and General James Murray and 
one or two more, at the British one day, I put him 
on telling the story of the mutiny at Quebec, when 
he had the command after the death of Wolfe. He told 
us that the first thing he had done was to send and 
inquire if Mac had taken advantage of the leave he 
had given him to sail for Britain the day before, for if 
he had not sailed, there would have been no mutiny. 


But he was gone, and I had to do the best I could 
without him ; and so he went on. Not being certain 
if this anecdote might not have been much exag- 
gerated, according to the usual style of the windy 
Murrays, as they were styled by Joch at the Horn, I 
asked Mac, when the company parted, how much of 
this was true % He answered, that though the General 
had exceeded a little in his compliments to him, that 
it was so far true, that he, being the only Highland 
chaplain there — he of Fraser's regiment having gone 
home — he had so much to say with both of them 
that he could have persuaded them to stand by their 
officers and the General, in which, if those two 
regiments had joined, they would have prevented the 

One anecdote more of this worthy man, and I shall 
have done with him. In one of the winters in which 
he was at Quebec he had provided himself in a 
w^ooden house, which he had furnished well, and in 
which he had a tolerable soldier's library. While he 
^vas dining one day with the mess, his house took fire 
and was burned to the ground. Next morning the 
two serjeant-majors of the two Highland regiments 
came to him, and, lamenting the great loss he had 
sustained, told him that the lads, out of their gTeat 
love and respect for him, had collected a purse of four 
hundred guineas, which they begged him to accept of. 
He w^as moved by their generosity, and by-and-by 
anwered, " That he was never so much gratified in his 
life as by their offer, as a mark of kindness and respect, 


of which he would think himself entirely unworthy 
if he could rob them of the fruits of their wise and 
prudent frugality ;" and added, " that, by good fortune, 
he had no need of the exertions of their generosity." 
The annals of private men I have often thought as 
instructive and worthy of being recorded as those of 
their superiors. 

Having formerly given some account of James 
M'Pherson and Garrick, I shall say nothing more of 
them here, but that in their several ways they were 
very good company. Garrick was always playsome, 
good-humoured, and willing to display ; James was 
sensible, shrewd, and sarcastic. Dow went a second 
time out to India, and after some time died there. 

By this time I had discovered that I should have 
no need to go to Bath, as Mrs C. had fallen with 
child, which left me sufficient time to wait even 
for the very slow method of transacting Treasury 
business, which made me sometimes repent that I 
had undertaken it. I had found Sir Gilbert Elliot 
at last, who both encouraged and assisted me. I had 
also met Mr Wedderburn, who was not then in the 
line of doing me much service. Mr Grey Cooper, 
who had been brought forward by the Honourable 
Charles Townshend, and was then a Secretary of the 
Treasury, frankly gave me his services. But the only 
person (except Sir G. Elliot) who understood me 
perfectly was Mr Jeremiah Dyson. He had been two 
years at Edinburgh University at the same time as 
Akenside and Monckly, and had a perfect idea of the 


constitution of the Churcli of Scotland and the nature 
and state of the livings of the clergy. Of him I ex- 
pected and obtained much aid. Broderip, secretary 
to the Duke of Grafton, on whom I frequently called, 
gave me good words but little aid. 

On the 23d of this month I went with John Home 
to the first night of his tragedy of the Fatal Discovery, 
which went off better than we expected. This was 
and is to my taste the second-best of Home's tragedies. 
Garrick had been justly alarmed at the jealousy and 
dislike which prevailed at that time against Lord 
Bute and the Scotch, and had advised him to change 
the title of Rivine into that of the Fatal Discovery, 
and had provided a student of Oxford, who had ap- 
peared at the rehearsals as the author, and wished 
Home of all things to remain concealed till the play 
had its run. But John, whose vanity was too san- 
guine to admit of any fear or caution, and whose 
appetite for praise rebelled against the counsel that 
would deprive him for a moment of his fame, too 
soon discovered the secret, an^ though the play sur- 
vived its nine nights, yet the house evidently slack- 
ened after the town heard that John was the author. 
Home, however, in his way, ascribed this to the atten- 
tion of the public, and especially of the Scotch, being 
drawn off by the Douglas Cause, which was decided in 
the House of Lords on the 27th, forgettincr that this 
took up only one night, and that any slackness de- 
rived from that cause could not affect other nights. 

To finish my account of this play, I shall add here 


that Garrick still continued to perform it on the most 
convenient terms. Mrs Carlyle, John Home, and I, 
dined with Mr A. Wedderburn at his house in Lin- 
coln's -Inn Fields, and went to the Fatal Discovery 
with him and his lady and his brother, Colonel David 
Wedderburn, when we were all perfectly well pleased. 
We returned with them to supper, Wedderburn having 
continued cordial and open all that day ; his brother 
was always so. 

We became acquainted with my wife's uncle and aunt, 
Mr Laurie and Miss Mary Eeed, brother and sister of 
her mother by another wife. Mr Reed was a mahogany 
merchant in Hatton Wall, a very worthy and honour- 
able man ; and his sister, whom I had seen once or 
twice before in Berwick, was a handsome and elegant 
woman, though now turned of thirty, with as much 
good sense and breeding as any person we met with. 
Mr Reed was not rich, but between an estate of £250, 
which he had near Alnwick, and his business, he lived 
in a very respectable manner. Their mode of living 
was quite regulated, f(y they saw company only two 
days in the week ; — on Thursday, to dinner, when you 
met a few friends, chiefly from Northumberland; and 
here, if you pleased, you might play cards and stay 
the evening. On Sunday evening they likewise saw 
their friends to tea and supper, but they were too 
old-fashioned to play cards, which was very convenient 
for me. The uncle and aunt were proud of their niece, 
as they found her, in point of conversation and man- 
ners, at least equal to any of their guests ; and the 


niece was proud of her uncle and aunt, as in him she 
found as honest a man as Mr Bell, and in her a woman 
who, for beauty and elegance, could cope with my 
sister, who was not surpassed by any lady in the city. 
Here I met with many old acquaintances, and made 
some new ones, such as Sir Evan Nepean and his lady, 
then only in their courtship, and A. Collingwood, a 
clever attorney, said to be nearly related to the family 
of Unthank — indeed, a natural son of my wife's grand- 
father. To this very agreeable place we resorted often ; 
and when I came the next year alone, I availed my- 
self of it, especially on Sunday nights. 

I was much indebted to my hospitable friend, Dr 
Blair of Westminster, at whose house also I met with 
sundry people whose acquaintance I cultivated. On 
the 26th of this month I met him at Court, after 
having attended service in the Chapel Eoyal and in 
.the chaplain's seat, and was by him introduced in the 
drawing-room to Lord Bathurst, then very old, but 
extremely agreeable ; Dr Barton, Dean of Bristol, 
Eector of St Andrew, Holborn, &c., and to Dr Tucker, 
Dean of Gloucester — very excellent people, whose 
acquaintance I very much valued.* 

On the 27th I attended the House of Peers on the 
Douglas Cause. The Duke of B[uccleuch] had promised 
to carry me down to the House ; but as I was going into 
Grosvenor Square to meet him at ten o'clock, I met 
the Duke of Montague, who was coming from his 

* Josiah Tucker, whose works on Trade anticijiated some of the estab- 
lished doctrines on political economy. — Ed. 


house, and took me into his chariot, saying that the 
Duke of B. was not yet ready. He put me in by 
the side of the throne, where I found two or three of my 
friends, among them Thomas Bell. The business did 
not begin till eleven, and from that time I stood, with 
now and then a lean on the edge of a deal board, till 
nine in the evening, without any refreshment but a 
small roll and two orano-es. The heat of the house 
was chiefly oppressive, and Lord Sandwich's speech, 
which, though learned and able, yet being three hours 
long, was very intolerable. The Duke of Bedford 
spoke low, but not half an hour. The Chancellor 
and Lord Mansfield united on the side of Douglas ; 
each of them spoke above an hour. Andrew Stuart, 
whom I saw in the House, sitting on the left side of 
the throne, seemed to be much affected at a part of 
Lord Camden's speech, in which he reflected on him, 
and immediately left the House ; from whence I con- 
cluded that he was in despair of success. Lord Mans- 
field, overcome with heat, was about to faint in the 
middle of his speech, and was obliged to stop. The 
side-doors were immediately thrown open, and the 
Chancellor rushing out, returned soon with a servant, 
who followed him with a bottle and glasses. Lord 
Mansfield drank two glasses of the wine, and after 
some time revived, and proceeded in his speech. We, 
who had no wine, were nearly as much recruited 
by the fresh air which rushed in at the open doors as 
his lordship by the wine. About nine the business 
ended in favour of Douglas, there being only five 


Peers on the other side. I was well pleased with 
that decisioji, as I had favoured that side : Professor 
Ferguson and I being the only two of our set of 
people who favoured Douglas, chiefly on the opinion 
that, if the proof of filiation on his part was not sus- 
tained, the whole system of e^'idence in such cases 
would be overturned, and a door be opened for end- 
less disputes about succession. I had asked the Duke 
of B., some days before the decision, how it would 
go; he said that if the Law Lords disagreed, there 
was no saying how it woidd go ; because the Peers, 
however imperfectly prepared to judge, would follow 
the Judge they most respected. But if they united, 
the case would be determined by their opinion ; it 
being [the practice] in their House to support the 
Law Lords in all judicial cases. 

After the decision, I persuaded my firiends, as there 
was no coach to be had, not to attempt rushing into 
any of the neighbouring taverns, but to follow me to 
the Qrown and Anchor in the Strand, where we arrived, 
Thos. Bell, Alderman Crichton, Robert Bogle, junior, 
and I, in time enough to get into a snug room, where we 
wrote some letters for Scotland, the post then not de- 
parting till twelve; and after a good supper. Bell and 
I got home to Aldermanbury about one o'clock, where 
our wives were waiting, though not uninformed of the 
event, as I had despatched a porter with a note to 
them immediately on our arrival in the tavern. 

The rejoicings in Scotland were very great on this 
occasion, and even outrageous : although the Douglas 

2 K 


family had been long in obscurity, yet the Hamiltons 
had for a long period lost their popularity. The at- 
tachment which all their acquaintances had to Baron 
Mure, who was the original author of this suit, and 
to Andrew Stuart, who carried it on, swayed their 
minds very much their way. They were men of un- 
common good sense and probity."^' 

Mrs Pulteney being still living, we had a fine din- 
ner at Bath House, after which, Mrs Carlyle and I 
paid an evening visit to Mrs Montague. Pulteney 
at this time had fallen much under the influence of 
General Robert Clerk, whom I have mentioned before. 
I happened to ask him when he had seen Clerk ; he 
answered he saw him every day, and as he had not 
been there yet, he might probably pay his visit before 
ten o'clock, and then enlarged for some time on his 
great ability. Clerk had subdued Pulteney by per- 
suading him that there was not a man in England fit 
to be Chancellor of Exchequer but himself Mrs Pul- 
teney 's good sense, however, defeated the effect of this 
influence. Pulteney was unfortunate in not taking 
for his private secretary and confidential friend Dr 
John Douglas, who had stood in that relation to the 
late Lord Bath, and was one of the ablest men in 
England. But on Pulteney s succession he found 
himself neglected, and drew off. Clerk came at ten, 

* Andrew Stuart, often mentioned by Carlyle, had devoted the whole 
energies and prospects of his life to the Hamilton side of the cause. He 
challenged Thiirlow, the leading counsel on the opposite side, and they 
fought. His bitter "Letters to Lord Mansfield" have often been read, like 
those of Junius, as a model of polished vituperation. — Ed. 


as Pulteney had foretold, and I saw how the land 

On this first mission to London I was much obliged 
to Sir Alexander Gilmour, who was a friend of the 
Duke of Grafton's. He knew everybody, and intro- 
duced me to everybody. One day he carried me to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury (Cornwallis), who re- 
ceived me graciously ; in short, I called on all the 
Scotch noblemen and Members of Parliament, many of 
whom I saw, and left memorials at every house where 
I called. Lord Frederick Campbell was particularly 
obliging. At this time I dined one day with Sir A, 
Gilmour on a Sunday, after having been at Court ; 
General Graham and Pulteney, and Colonel Eiccart 
Hepburn, dined there. In the conversation there, to 
my surprise I found [Graham] talking strongly against 
Administration for not advising the King to yield to 
the popular cry. Gilmour opposed him with violence, 
and I drew an inference, which proved true, that he 
had been tampering with her Majesty, and using politi- 
cal freedoms, which were not, long afterwards, the cause 
of his disgrace. Graham was a shrewd and sensible 
man, but the Queen's favour and his prosperity had 
made him arrogant and presumptuous, and he blew 
himself up.* Not long after this time he lost his oflBce 

• This is probably the "Colonel Graeme'' who, according to Walpole 
(who says he was a notorious Jacobite, and out in the '4.5), negotiated the 
marriage of George III., having been " despatched in the most private 
manner as a traveller, and invested with no character, to visit various little 
Protestant courts, and make re^wrt of the qualifications of the several un- 
married princesses." — See Menn. of Geo. III., ch. v.— Ed. 


near the Queen, and retired into obscurity in Scotland 
for the rest of his days. 

My connection with physicians made me a member 
of two of their clubs, which I seldom missed. One of 
them was at the Horn Tavern in Fleet Street, where 
they had laid before them original papers relating to 
their own science, and had published a volume or two 
of Essays, which were well received. Armstrong, 
who took no share in the business generally, arrived 
when I did, about eight o'clock ; and as they had a 
great deference for him, and as he was whimsical, they 
delayed bespeaking supper till he came, and then laid 
that duty on him. lie in complaisance wished to 
turn it over on me, as the greatest, or rather the only 
stranger, for I was admitted siDeciali gratia; but I 
declined the office. The conversation was lively and 
agreeable, and we parted always at twelve. There 
was another club held on the alternate Thursday at 
the Queen's Head in St Paul's Churchyard, which w^as 
not confined to physicians, but included men of other 
professions. Strange the engraver was one, a very 
sensible, ingenious, and modest man. 

In the course of my operations about the window- 
tax, I had i'requently short interviews with Lord 
Mansfield. One day he sent for me to breakfast, 
when I had a long conversation with him on various 
subjects. Amongst others, he talked of Hume and 
Robertson's Histories, and said that though they had 
pleased and instructed him much, and though he could 
point out few or no faults in them, yet, when he was 


reading their books, he did not think he was reading 
English : could I account to him how that happened 1 
I answered that the same objection had not occurred 
to me, who was a Scotchman bred as well as born ; but 
that I had a solution to it, which I would submit to 
his lordship. It w^as, that to every man bred in Scot- 
land the English language was in some respects a 
foreign tongue, the precise value and force of whose 
words and phrases he did not understand, and there- 
fore was continually endeavouring to word his expres- 
sions by additional epithets or circumlocutions, which 
made his writings appear both stiff and redundant. 
With this solution his lordship appeared entirely 
satisfied. By this time his lordship perfectly under- 
stood the nature of our claim to exemption from the 
window-tax, and promised me his aid, and suggested 
some new arguments in our favour. 

I made a very valuable acquaintance in the Bishop 
of London, R. Jerrick, having been introduced to him 
by his son-in-law, Dr Anthony Hamilton, whom I met 
at Dr Pitcaim's. I found the Bishop to be a truly 
excellent man, of a liberal mind and excellent good 
temper. He took to me, and was very cordial in 
wishing success to my application, and was very 
friendly in recommending me and it to his brethren 
on the bench. He never refused me admittance, and 
I dined frequently with him this year and the next. 
He was then considered as having the sole episcopal 
jurisdiction over the Church of England in America. 
He was so obliging to my requests that he ordained. 


at my desire, two Scotch probationers, who, having 
little chance of obtaining settlements here, were glad 
to try their fortune in a new world. As I was unwill- 
ing to forfeit my credit with this good man, I had not 
recommended them but with perfect assurance of their 
good characters. The first, Avhom I think he had sent 
to Bermudas, he gave me thanks for when I saw him 
a year after, as, he told me, he had fully answered the 
character I had given him. He [the Bishop] was a 
famous good preacher, and the best reader of prayers 
I ever heard. Being Dean of the Chapel-Eoyal, he 
read the communion-service every Sunday. Though 
our residence was at my sister's in Aldermanbury, as 
I had occasion frequently to dine late in the west end 
of the town, I then lodged in New Bond Street with 
my aunt, and resorted often at supper to Robert Adam's, 
wdiose sisters were very agreeable, and where we had 
the latest news from the House of Commons, of which 
he was a member, and which he told us in the most 
agreeable manner, and with very lively comments. 

My good aunt Paterson's husband, a cousin of Sir 
Hew Paterson, took care to have us visit his son's 
widow, Mrs Seton, the heiress of Touch, whose first 
husband was Sir Hew's son, who had died without 
issue. There we dined one day with a large company, 
mostly Scots, among whom were Mrs Walkinshaw — 
wdio had a place at court, though she was sister of the 
lady who was said to be mistress to Prince Charles, 
the Pretender's son — and David Hume, by that time 
Under-Secretary of State. The conversation was lively 


and agreeable, but we were much amused with ob- 
servmor how much the thouo;hts and conversation of 
all those in the least connected were taken up with 
every trifling circumstance that related to the Court. 
This kind of tittle-tattle suited Dr John Blair of all . 
men, who had been a tutor to the King's brother, the 
Duke of York, and now occasionally assisted Dr Bar- 
ton as Clerk of the Closet to the Princess Dowager of 
Wales. It was truly amusing to observe how much 
David Hume's strong and capacious mind was filled 
with infantine anecdotes of nurses and children. JVIr 
Seton was the son of a Mr Smith, who had been 
settled at Boulogne, a wine merchant, was a great 
Jacobite, and had come to Scotland in the time of the 
Rebellion, 1745. Poor Mrs Seton, whose first husband, 
Paterson, was, by his mother, a nephew of the Earl of 
Mar, had fallen a sacrifice to that prejudice, for Seton 
possessed no other chann. I call her a sacrifice, be- 
cause his bad usage shortened her days. She was a 
very amiable woman. His future history is well 

At this time we had a dinner from Dr Gartshore, 
whose wife, the heiress of Rusco, in Galloway, was my 
cousin, t Besides Drs Blair and Dickson, there were 
several dissenting parsons, such as Drs Price, Kippis, 

* Arcliibald Seton snccessively filled several high offices in the Indian 
service, and died in 1818.— Gentlemati's Magazine, vol. Ixxxviii. p. IM. The 
mansion of Touch, long the abode of one of the old Seton families, is a 
Venerable square tower, with later adjuncts, on the slope of- the Gargunnock 
HUls, about three miles from Stirling. — Ed. 

+ Dr Maxwell Gartshore, a native of Kirkcudbrightshire, died after a 
long and successfid professional career in London, in 1812. — Ed. 


.and Alexander, who were very bad company indeed, 
for they were fiery republicans and Wilkites, and very 
pedantic, petulant, and peremptory. Blair and I, 
however, with the help of Dickson, kept them very 
well down. Gartshore himself acted the part of 
umpire, with a leaning to their side, as they had an 
ascendant over many of his patients. 

John Home, who was very obliging to us, when I 
was at liberty, in the middle of April, went with Mrs 
Carlyle and me to see Hampton Court and Windsor. 
After we had seen the first, we went and showed Mrs 
Carlyle Garrick's villa in Hampton Town, which she 
was highly pleased with. The family had not yet 
returned to the country. We went all night to Wind- 
sor. In the morning we called on Dr Douglas and 
his lady, a granddaughter of Sir George Eooke, of 
Queen Anne's reign, then in residence. He engaged 
us to dine with him. We went to church and heard 
him preach an excellent sermon, though ill delivered. 
His conversation was always instructive and agree- 
able. He had a greater number of anecdotes, and 
told them more correctly, than any man I ever knew. 
In going through his library, which was pretty full of 
books, he selected one small elegant French novel, and 
gave it as a keepsake to Mrs Carlyle, which she and 
I were much pleased with, as a token of regard. 

We had passed one day with Mrs Montague by in- 
vitation, which did not please us much, as the conver- 
sation was all preconceived, and resembled the rehear- 
sal of a comedy more than the true and unaffected 


dialogue whicli conveys the unaffected and unstudied 
sentiments of the heart. AVhat a pity it was that she 
could not help acting ; and the woman would have 
been respectable had she not been so passionately 
desirous of respect, for she had good parts, and must 
have had many allurements when she was young and 

John Home went with us to see Sion House, the 
inside of which had been most beautifully adorned 
by Kobert Adam. We dined with Mr and Mrs Barry, 
who had been old friends of John's, and Barry had been 
his military companion at Falkirk, and escaped with 
him from Doune Castle. John was much attached to 
him, and he deserved it. His wife was very amiable. 
There dined ^v4th us M'Pherson and Blair, besides 
Home. Our stay in London drew to a close, and hav- 
ing obtained all I expected from the Treasury, which 
was encouragement to apply to Parliament next year, I 
made haste to show !Mrs Carlyle what she had not seen. 

We went to Greenwich in the mornino-, and the 
same day dined again "with Mr and Mrs Seton, and 
supped with my old friend. Lady Lindores. 

I sat to Martin for the large picture that went next 
year into the Exhibition : this was for the third time. 
Another sitting in January thereafter did the business. 
We went to the opera with my sister. We stayed for 
our last fortnight at my aunt's, as my business at the 
Treasury made it more convenient, and my wife had 
to make all her farewell visits. She had not seen 

• See above, p. 462. — Ed. 


Garrick, who was at last to play for three nights. 
With difficulty and bribery we got places ; but Mrs C. 
felt sick, and we were obliged to leave it in the middle. 
We went to see Westminster Abbey, and dined with 
our kind friends, the Blairs, who had engaged lis. My 
sister being now gone to Merton with her children, we 
took aunt and passed a day there. On the last day 
we went into the city, and took leave, and dined at 
uncle Reed's. 

We dined on the 25th April at the Brand's Head 
with some friends, and set out on our journey north- 
wards at five in the evening. Mr Home had got a 
partner, a young man of the name of Douglas, going 
to Berwick. This lad being fantastic and vain, be- 
cause he had an uncle who was under-doorkeeper to 
the House of Commons, diverted us much. To enjoy 
him. Home and I took him stage about. My wife was 
delighted with him in the inns, but she did not choose 
him to go in the chaise with her, as she was at this 
time apt to be sick. My wife's condition made me 
resolve to travel slow, though we were to halt some 
time at Newcastle. 

We had agreed, for my wife's amusement and our 
own, to take the middle road, and go down by North- 
ampton and Nottingham, where we had never been ; 
and were much amused with the beauty of the coun- 
try, and the variety of its scenery. When we came to 
Nottingham, however, as the road was rough, which did 
not suit Mrs Carlyle's present condition, and the houses 
and horses inferior, [we thought] it would be better 


to turn into the east road again, and make the best 
of our way to Doncaster. When we drew near that 
place, ^Irs Carlyle found out that we had changed our 
route, and was well pleased. We had come by Mans- 
field and Welbecks (the Duke of Portland's), and the 
Duke of Norfolk's, places well worth seeing. The 
road goes through the trunk of a famous oak tree. 
The woods in that part of the forest of Willingham 
are very fine, and the oaks are remarkably large. We 
arrived at WaUsend, a very debghtfiil village about 
four miles below Newcastle, on the road to Shields, 
where Mr Blackett had a very agreeable house for the 
summer. There were other two gentlemen's houses of 
good fortune in the village, with a church and a par- 
sonage-house. Next day, the 1st of May, was so very 
warm that I with difficulty was able to walk down to 
the church in the bottom of the village, not more than 
two hundred yards distant. 

Mary Home, a cousin-gemian of 3Irs Blackett s and 
my wife's, was residing here at this time, and had. 
been for several months at Newcastle. This was the 
young lady whom John Home married, who was then 
a pretty lively girl, and reckoned very like Queen 
Charlotte. She unfortunately had bad health, which 
continued even to this day; for she is now sixty- 
seven, and is still very frail, though better than she 
has been for several years. It was in some respects 
an unlucky marriage, for she had no children. Lord 
Haddington, however, said she was a very good wife 
for a poet ; and Lady Milton ha^dng asked me what 


made John marry such a sickly girl, I answered that 
I supposed it was because he was in love with her. 
She replied, " No, no ; it was because she was in love 
with him." 

We stayed here for eight or ten days, and visited 
all the neighbours, who were all very agreeable, even 
the clergyman's wife, who was a little lightsome ; but 
as her head ran much on fine clothes, which she could 
not purchase to please her, but only could imitate in 
the most tawdry manner, she was rather amusing to 
Mrs B., who had a good deal of humour — more than 
her sister, who had a sharper wit and more discern- 
ment. The husband was a very good sort of man, 
and very worthy of his office, but oppressed with 
family cares. Mr Potter, I think, was an Oxonian. 

AVe did not fail to visit our good friend Mr Colliiig- 
wood of Chirton, and his lady, Mary Roddam, of both 
of whom my wife was a favourite. We went down 
together to Berwickshire in the middle of May, where 
we remained some days at Fogo Manse, the Rev. Mr 
William Home's, where, leaving John with his bride, 
we came on to Musselburgh about the 27th of May, 
near the end of the General Assembly. 

I had been persuaded to buy a young horse from 
a farmer near Mr Home's, an awkward enough beast, 
but only four years old, which, if he did not do for 
a riding-horse, might be trained to the plough, for I 
had, at the preceding Martinmas, entered on a farm of 
one hundred acres of the Duke of Buccleuch's. On 
the Saturday morning after I came home, I unfor- 


timately mounted tliis beast, who ran away with me 
in my green before the door, and was in danger of 
throwing me on the rading that was put up to defend 
a young hedge. To shun this I threw myself off on 
the opposite side, in sight of my wife and children. 
I was much stunned, and could not get up imme- 
diately, but luckily, before she could reach the place, 
I had raised myself to my breech, otherwise I did not 
know what mio-ht have befallen her in the condition 
she was in. No harm, however, happened to her ; and 
the new surgeon who had come in our absence, a John 
Steward or Stewart, a Northumbrian, an apprentice 
of Sandy Wood's, was sent for to bleed me. I would 
not be bled, however, till I had made my report on 
the window- lights ready for the General Assembly, 
which was to be dissolved on Monday, lest I should 
not be able to write after being bled, or not to attend 
the Assembly on Monday. But it so happened that I 
was little disabled by my fall, and could even preach 
next day. 

AVhen we returned from the south, we were happy 
to find our two fine girls in such good health ; but my 
mother, and unmarried sister Sarah, had lived for 
some time close by us, and saw them twice every day. 
Sarah, the eldest, was now eight years of age, and had 
displayed great sweetness of temper, with an uncom- 
mon degree of sagacity. Jenny, the second, was now 
six, and was gay and lively and engaging to the last 
degree. They were both handsome in their several 
kinds, the first like me and my family, the second like 


their mother. They already had made great profi- 
ciency in writing and arithmetic, and.Avere remarkably 
good dancers. At this time they betrayed no symp- 
toms of that fatal disease which robbed me of them, 
unless it might have been predicted from their 
extreme sensibilities of taste and affection which 
they already displayed. It was the will of Heaven 
that I should lose them too soon. But to reflect on 
their promising qualities ever since has been the de- 
light of many a watchful night and melancholy day. 
I lost them before they had given me any emotions 
but those of joy and hope. 

On the 25th of September this year, Mrs Carlyle 
was delivered of her third daughter, Mary Roddam, 
and recovered very well. But the child was un- 
healthy from her birth, and gave her mother the 
greatest anxiety. She continued to live till June 
1773, when she was relieved from a life of constant 
pain. In November 11th that year she had her son 
William, who was very healthy and promising till 
within six or eight weeks of his death, when he was 
seized with a peripneumony, which left such a weak- 
ness on his lungs as soon closed his days. 

On Monday I went to Edinburgh, and rendered an 
account of my mission at the bar of the General 
Assembly. I received the thanks of the General 
Assembly for my care and diligence in the manage- 
ment of this business, and at the same time was ap- 
pointed by the Assembly their commissioner, with 
full powers to apply to next session of Parliament for 


an exemption from the window-tax, to be at the same 
time under the direction of a committee of Assembly, 
which was revived, with additions. This first success 
made me very popular among the clergy, of whom 
one-half at least looked upon me with an ill eye after 
the affair of the tragedy of Douglas. There is no 
doubt that exemption from that tax was a very great 
object to the clergy, whose stipends were in general 
very small, and besides, was opposing in the beginning 
any design there might be to lay still heavier burdens 
on the clergy, who, having only stipends out of the 
tithes allocated, together with small glebes and a 
suitable manse and offices free of all taxes and public 
burdens, would have been quite undone had they 
been obliged to pay all that has since been laid on 
houses and windows. 

For as much use as the clergy were at the Reforma- 
tion, and for as much as they contributed to the 
Revolution, and to preserve the peace and promote 
the prosperity of the country since that period, the 
aristocracy of Scotland have always been backward 
to mend their situation, which, had it not been for the 
manly system of the President (Islay Campbell), must 
have fallen into distress and contempt. As it is, their 
stipends keep no pace ^vith the rising prosperity of 
the country, and they are degraded in their rank by 
the increasing wealth of the inferior orders. Had the 
nobility and gentry of Scotland enlargement of mind 
and extensive views, they would now, for the security 
of the constitution, engraft the clergy into the State, 


as they have always been in England, and by impart- 
ing all the privileges of freeholders, except that of 
being members of Parliament, on their livings, they 
would attach them still more than ever to their coun- 
try ; they would widen the basis of the constitution, 
which is far too narrow, without lessening their own 
importance in the smallest degree, for there could be 
no combination of the clergy against their heritors ; 
on the contrary, they would be universally disposed 
to unite with their heritors, if they behaved well to 
them in all political business; but I know very few 
people capable of thinking in this train, and far less 
of acting on so large and liberal a plan. In the 
mean time, on account of many unfortunate circum- 
stances, one of which is, that patrons, now that by 
help of the Moderate interest, as it is called, there is 
no opposition to their presentations, have restored to 
them that right they so long claimed, and for most 
part give them the man they like best ; that is to say, 
the least capable, and commonly the least worthy, of 
all the probationers in their neighbourhood.* The 
unfitness of one of the professors of divinity, and the 
influence he has in providing for young men of his 
own fanatical cast, increases this evil not a little, and 
accelerates the degradation of the clergy. His cousin, 
Sir James H. Blair, never repented so much of any- 
thing as the placing him in that chair, as he soon dis- 
covered the disadvantage to the Church that might 
[arise] from his being put in that situation. It is a 

* The sentence seems incomi)lete, but sic in MS. — Ed. 


pity that a man so irreproachable in his life and man- 
ner, and even distinoruished for his candour and fair- 
ness, should be so weak ; but he does more harm than 
if he were an intriguing hypocrite. 

During the summer 1769, after I had given the 
clergy such hopes of being relieved from the window- 
tax, they set about a subscription (the funds of the 
Church being quite inadequate at any time, and then 
very low) for defraying the expense of their commis- 
sioner, and of procuring an Act of Parliament. Nearly 
two-thirds of the clergy had subscribed to this fund, 
for a sum of about £400 was subscribed, if I remem- 
ber right, by subscriptions from five shillings to one 
guinea, and put into the hands of Dr George Wishart, 
then Principal Clerk of the Church, 

Mrs C. having recovered from her late inlying, I 
now prepared to go to London to follow out the object 
of my commission ; and lest I should be too late, I 
set out in such time as to arrive in London on the 
21st of December. I had a Major Paul as my com- 
panion in the chaise, and though we took five days 
to it, the expense in those days was no more than 
£10, 8s. 7d. As my business lay entirely in the west 
end of the town, I took up my lodging in New Bond 
Street, and engaged the other apartment for John 
Home, who was to be there in a fortnight. But I 
immediately took Neil [ ], a trusty serv^ant, who 

had been with him last year, and could serve us both 
now, as I required but very little personal service. 
The very day after I came to London, I had wrote a 

2 L 


paper signed Nestor, in support of the Duke of Graf- 
ton, who was then in a tottering state. This paper, 
which appeared on the 23d of December, drew the 
attention of I^ord Elibank and other Scotch gentle- 
men who attended the British Coffeehouse, which con- 
vinced me that I might continue my political labours, 
as they were acceptable to Administration. At this 
time I did not know that the Duke of Grafton was so 
near going out, but soon after I discovered it by an 
accident. On one of the mornings which I passed 
with Lord Mansfield, after he had signified his entire 
approbation of my measures to obtain an exemption 
for the clergy of Scotland, I took the liberty of say- 
ing to him in going down stairs, that his lordship's 
opinion was so clear in our favour, that I had nothing 
to wish but that he would be so good as to say so to 
the Duke of Grafton. His answer surprised me, and 
opened my eyes. It was, " I cannot speak with the 
Duke of Grafton ; I am not acquainted with his 
Grace ; I never conversed with him but once, which 
was when he came a short while ago from the King to 
ofi'er me the seals. I can't talk with the Duke of 
Grafton ; so good morning. Doctor. Let me see you 
again when you are further advanced." I went in- 
stantly with this anecdote to my friend Mrs Ander- 
son, at the British, and we concluded almost instantly, 
without plodding, that the change of the ministry was 
nigh at hand. When I saw her next day, she told 
me she had seen her brother, Dr Douglas, who was 
struck with my anecdote, and combining with it some 


things he had observed, concluded that the fall of the 
Duke of Grafton was at hand, which proved true. 

This accordingly took place not long after, when 
Charles York, the second son of the Chancellor Hard- 
wick, having been wheedled over to accept the seals, 
and being upbraided severely for having broken his 
engagements with his party, put himself to death 
that very night; which was considered a public loss, 
as he was a man of parts and probity. Pratt was 
appointed Chancellor, and Lord Korth became minis- 
ter. I was in the House of Commons the first night 
that he took his place as Premier. He had not in- 
tended to disclose it that night ; but a provoking 
speech of Colonel Barre's obliged him to own it, which 
he did with a great deal of wit and humour. Barre 
was a clever man and good speaker, but very hard- 
mouthed.* I was the first person at the British after 
the division ; and telling Mrs Anderson the heads of 
North's speech, and the firmness and wit with w^hich 
he took his place as First Minister, she concluded with 
me that he would maintain it lono;. Lord Xorth was 
very agreeable, and, as a private gentleman, as worthy 
as he was witty ; but having unluckily got into the 
American war, brought the nation into an incredible 
sum of debt, and in the end lost the whole American 

* See the debate in the Pari. Hist, xvL 705 d seq The name of Colonel 

Isaac Barrg, so conspicuous in its day, is so completely excludetl from ordi- 
nary biographical works of reference, that it may be useful to refer to a 
curious notice of him by Walpole in his Memoirs of George III. (i. 109). 
Colonel Barre gives an account of his own services in a speech rej-orted in 
Pari Hist., xxiiL 156. — ^Ed. 


colonies. He professed himself ignorant of war, but 
said he would appoint the most respectable generals 
and admirals, and furnish them with troops and 
money ; but he was weak enough to send the Howes, 
though of a party opposite to him, who seemed to act 
rather against the Ministers than the Americans. 
They were changed for other commanders ; but the 
feeble conduct of the Howes had given the Americans 
time to become warlike, and they finally prevailed. 
North maintained his ground for no less than twelve 
years through this disgraceful war, and then was 
obliged to give way that a peace might be established. 
This at first was thought necessary to Great Britain ; 
but Lord North's attempt to make a coalition with his 
former opponents having failed, and Charles Fox's 
scheme of governing the nation by an aristocracy, 
with the aid of his India Bill, being discovered and de- 
feated, made way for Mr Pitt's first Administration in 
1783, which soon restored national credit and promised 
the greatest prosperity to the British empire, had it 
not been interrupted by the French Ee volution in 
1789, and the subsequent most dangerous war of 
1798. It was discovered early in this period that the 
revolt and final disjunction of our American colonies 
was no loss to Great Britain, either in respect of com- 
merce or war. I have been led to this long digression 
by Lord North's having become Premier in the begin- 
ning of the year 1770. 

Although the discharge of my commission required 
attention and activity, yet the Lords of the Treasury 

BATH IN 1770. 533 

having frequently referred me for an answer to a dis- 
tant day, I took the opportunity of making frequent 
excursions to places where I had not been. 

One of the first of them was to Bath with John 
Home, to pay a visit to his betrothed, Mary Home, 
whom he married in the end of summer. He had sent 
her to Bath to improve her health, for she was very 
delicate. We set out together, and went by the com- 
mon road, and arrived on the second day to dinner. 

Miss Home had taken a small house at Bath, where 
she lived with a Miss Pye, a companion of hers, and 
a friend of ^Irs Blackett's. They lived very com- 
fortably, and we dined with them that day. Bath is 
beautifully built, and situated in a vale surrounded 
with small hills cultivated to the top ; and being built 
of fine polished stone, in warm weather is intolerably 
hot ; but when we were there in the beginning of 
March it was excessively cold. The only thing about 
it not agreeable to the eye is the dirty ditch of a river 
which runs through it. 

On the morning after we arrived, we met Lord 
Galloway in the pump-room, who having had a family 
quarrel, had retired to Bath with one of his daughters. 
The first question he asked me was, if I had yet seen 
our cousin, Sandie Goldie, his wife being a sister of 
Patrick Heron's. I answered no, but that I intended 
to call on him that very day. " Do," said his lordship, 
" but don't tell his story while you are here, for he is 
reckoned one of the cleverest fellows in this city, for 
being too unreasonable to sign receipts for above 

534 BRISTOL IN 1770. 

£1000, the produce of the reversion of his estate. 
He makes a very good livelihood at the rooms by 
betting on the whist-players, for he does not play." 
Lord Galloway engaged ns to dine with him next 
day.'"' We went to the rooms at night, and to a ball, 
where 1 was astonished to find so many old acquaint- 

We had called on Goldie, who engaged us to dine 
with him. The day after we were to dine at Lord 
Galloway's. We met with Dr Gusthard, M.D., who 
had the charge of Miss Home's health. He was the 
son of Mr Gusthard, minister of Edinburgh, and being 
of good ability and a winning address, had come into 
very good business. Lord Galloway, though quite 
illiterate by means of the negligence of his trustees or 
tutors, was a clever man, of much natural ability, and 
master of the common topics of conversation. We 
dined next day at Alexander Goldie's, where we had 
the pleasure of his lordship's company. In our land- 
lord we discovered nothing but an uncommon rapidity 
of speech and an entertaining flow of imagination, 
which perhaps we would not have observed if we had 
not known that he had been cognosced at Edinburgh, 
and deprived of the management of his estate. 

Next day we made a party to Bristol hot wells, and 
added to our company a Miss Scptt, of Newcastle, a 
very pleasing young woman, who afterwards married 
an eminent lawyer there; and another lady, whose 
name I have forgot, who was a good deal older than 

* Alexander Stewai-t, sixth Eaii of Galloway. He died in 1773.— Ed, 


the rest, but was very pleasant, and had £30,000, by 
which means she became the wife of one of the Ha- 
thorns. This place appeared to me dull and disagree- 
able, and the hot wells not much better. Xext day 
we dined at Dr Grusthard's, and the day after set out 
on our return to London. We resolved to go by 
Salisbury Plain and Stonehenge, as neither of us had 
ever been there, both of which raised our wonder and 
astonishment, especially Stonehenge, but as we were 
not antiquarians, we could not form any coujecture 
about it. We got to London next day before dinner. 







At this point the Autobiography stops, the pen hav- 
ing literally dropped from the dying Author's hand. 
It would be vain and presumptuous to attempt to 
carry out his purpose — the intended remainder must 
be counted among the world's literary losses. But it 
may be considered proper that the Editor should 
briefly notify, for the reader's instruction, the subse- 
quent events of Carlyle's life, uttering them, as far as 
possible, in his own words, by enlivening the narrative 
with such passages from his letters and other writings 
as make the nearest approach to the characteristics of 
his Autobiography. The project he had undertaken 
for the relief of his brethren from the window-tax 
was a tedious and tortuous affair, and cost him much 
travelling, talking, and writing before it was effected. 
If he had lived to tell the story of his labours, we 
would have had vivid sketches of many a little scene 


and character, so adorning as almost to conceal the 
train of unimportant and uninteresting transactions. 
But no one would be thanked in the present day for 
extractincr the tenor of the narrative out of the official 
despatches, committee minutes, and other like docu- 
ments in which it is imbedded. 

It is not until the year 1782 that this matter is 
wound up, in a letter to Dundas, thanking him for 
the assistance, " without which," he says, " I' could 
not have so satisfactorily concluded my little affair in 
London ; " and as this letter, after some news about 
the General Assembly and the new ]\[oderator, breaks 
in upon some larger political transactions, a passage 
from it may not be unacceptable. It refers to a pro- 
ject for sending Dundas out as Govern or- General of 

" I don't know well whether to be glad or sorry, to hear it repeated 
again and again that you are going out supreme governor of the East 
Indies, with full poweitt 1 am soiTy you should disappear at this time 
from our hemisphere, as I have a chance of being set myself before 
your return. I am much more sorry that Britain should lose the ad- 
vantage of your virtue and abilities at so critical a period. At the 
same time, I must own that this is but a partial view of the subject ; 
for when I consider how many millions of the human race look for a 
guardian angel to i-aise and perfect them, I see a shining path in the 
East that leads to a pinnacle of glory and \-irtue. Go, then, and pursue 
the way that Provideuce points out. Your health may be in danger, 
but, with a principality, who thinks of health ? besides, a sore throat 
or a collie is as dangerous in obscurity." 

The window -tax discussion does not, however, 
afford many extracts so good as this ; and, indeed, the 
greater portion of Carlyle's existing correspondence 
lies under a like disqualification to be the companion 


of his animated Autobiography. The letters which 
the world would pick out from the correspondence of 
a man of rare gifts are those written to his familiar 
friends ; but he himself is apt to preserve as the more 
important the correspondence upon business affairs 
affecting public or private interests at the moment. 
Hence, among the stores placed at the Editor's dis- 
posal, by far the larger portion refer to matters of 
local interest — literally parochial affairs, which called 
for dutiful and laborious attention in their day, but 
cannot be resuscitated with either profit or pleasure 
at the present time. There are, for instance, the pro- 
ceedings of a presbytery or a synod to be watched and 
managed : Some leading man in the Church court has 
got into bad hands, and must be rightly advised, other- 
wise harm will come of it : The right man must be 
thoroughly backed for this perferment — the wrong 
man will get that, if So-and-so be not spoken to, and 
so forth. Such affairs had their little world of living 
interest, now no more. 

It is sufficient to say that Carlyle had a great voice 
in the selection of the men who were either to be 
brought into the Church by ordination to charges, or 
who were to be advanced as leaders from having 
proved themselves worthy in the ranks. No one will 
expect an inquiry to be here pursued into the manner 
in which he exercised in each case the influence he pos- 
sessed. If the lighter motives had some effect the 
heavier would have a greater ; and it would be wrong 
to suppose that his patronage was exercised on no better 
ground than what is stated in the following little cha- 


racteristic passage, though he no doubt thought thecon- 
siderations stated in it should have their own weight : — 

"Lord Douglas is here and welL A church of his in the Merse, 
called Preston, is vacant just now. The incumbent was so very old 
that it is more than px'obable that he may be engaged, otherwise perhaps 
your Grace might take the opportunity of providing for Mr Young, 
the handsome young man and fine preacher, who is a native of Dalkeith. 
My presentiment in his favour has been confirmed by iuquiiy. If Lord 
Douglas should be engaged, suppose you should tiy for Bothwell, which 
can't be long of being vacant ? I think it of great consequence to a noble 
family, especially if they have many.children, to have a sensible and 
superior clergyman settled in their parish. Yotmg is of that stamp, 
and might be greatly improved in taste, and elegance of mind and man- 
ners, by a free entree to Lady Douglas. The late Lord Hopetoun, who 
was a man of superior sense, was very unfortunate in his first lady's 
time. By some accident the highflying clergy were chiefly admitted 
about them. Weak heads and warm imaginations lie open to the zeal 
of fanaticism or the arts of hypocrites. He found his error when it was 
too late, and was sorry he had not encouraged the Wisharts and Blairs 
to come about him." 

Carlyle's influence in ecclesiastical promotion ap- 
pears not to have been entirely limited to Scotland. 
Occasionally his distinguished friends would find a 
place for a student who could not get on with the 
Presb}i;erian system, in the more manageable Church 
of England and Ireland ; as, for instance : — 

'• There is an old assistant of mine, J W by name, who, 

having grown impatient at not obtaining a church here, took orders in 
the Church of England— sold a little patrimony he had, and bought a 
chaplaincy to a regiment. Since that time he has been always unhappy. 
He was for some years in Minorca, where he lost his health. He fol- 
lowed the regiment to Ireland, where he lost his sight He came to 
Bath and recovered his health and sight, but lost his substance. He 
applied to me for God's sake to get him a curacy anywhere, that he 
might be able to pay for a deputy-chaplain. I recommended him to a 
friend of mine in London, who procured the cui-acy of Hertford for 
him. Soon after he wrot€ me from thence that he was so much despised 
in that town that he was in danger of hanging himself." 

He was to have got this hopeful parsonage on the 
Chancellor's list, but there were technical obstacles ; 


and now if the correspondent would obtain for " my 
poor despised friend a small living of £100 a-year or 
so," it would be " to serve a worthy creature, humble 
as he is." 

There are more pleasing associations connected with 
a scrap of writing — undated, but of course belonging to 
a late period of life. Every one will recognise him who 
is its object, though he is more aptly remembered as 
the venerable pastor and philosopher than as the young 

" Dr Carlyle begs leave to recommend Mr Alison to Mr Dundas's 
best offices, as a young divine bred in the Church of England, of un- 
common merit and accomplishments. After the usual academical 
education at Edinburgh, Mr Alison studied two years at Glasgow, and 
from thence was sent as an exhibitioner to Baliol College in Oxford, 
where he resided for nine orten years, and where he received ordination." 

In another letter we find him thanking Dundas for 
taking " Archy" by the hand, and explaining that it 
will thus, in this instance, be unnecessary to draw upon 
the patronage of Sir AVilliam Pulteney, with whom 
also Carlyle had corresponded about his young friend.* 

* It has been said, however, on good authority, that it was to Piolteney 
that Alison owed his promotion in England. See Memoir of Alison in the 
fragment of a Biograiihical Dictionary by the Society for the Diffusion of 
Useful Knowledge. In a letter by Pulteney, dated 22d June 1784, there 
is this pleasant account of Ahsoii's maiiiage to the daughter of Dr John 
Gregory: — "Andrew Stuart and I accompanied Mr AHson to Thrapston, 
and the marriage took place on the 19th by a licence from the Ai'chbishop of 
Canterbury. I conducted them afterwards to their residence, and we left 
them next morning after breakfast as happy as it is possible for people to 
be. Mr Alison was obliged to come round by London in order to take an 
oath at granting the licence, and I was glad of the opportimity which the 
journey afforded me of making an acquaintance with him ; for though I had 
little doubt that Miss G. had made a proper choice, yet I wished to be per- 
fectly satisfied ; and the result is, that I think neither you nor Mr Nairue 
have said a word too much in his favour." 


In the same letter in wliich he thus holds out a 
hand to a young aspirant, he pleads at greater length 
and with deeper earnestness the cause of his old friend 
Adam Ferguson, whom he expected to die before he 
had been paid the debt of fame and fortune which 
the world owed to him, or even realised the means of 
securing his family from destitution. It so happened 
that Ferguson, though attacked with hopeless looking 
symptoms in middle life, wore on to a good old age ; 
and that, through various chances, he became wealthy 
in his decUning years. That the world had done 
gross injustice to The Histonj of the Rowan Republic, 
was a fixed opinion with Carlyle ; and, in pleading 
for its author's family, he says : — 

" I do not know by what fatality it is that the best and most manly 
history (with some imperfections, no doubt) of modem times, has been 
so little sought after. The time will come when it will be read and 
admired. That time, I hope, is not at a great distance. Germany is 
the country where it will receive its name ; and when the report returns 
from the learned there, the book will begin to be prized. But Ferguson 
may be dead by that time, and an Irish edition may glut the market. 
I was always in hopes that some of you would have quoted it in the 
House of Commons, as Charles Fox did Principal Watson's Philip, for 
some of his purposes in the time of the American War. I am sui*e 
Ferguson's contains ten times more instruction for the statesman and 
legislator than the other does ; but I have been disappointed." 

By far the greater portion of Carlyle's letters which 
have been preserved relate, as has been said, to matters 
of business — such as those dealt with in the preceding 
quotations, or even affairs of still less interest. Some 
bundles of epistles, addressed to him, show that he had a 
wide correspondence of a lighter cast ; and he is re- 
ported to have been famous as a fashionable letter- 


writer — a highly-prized accomplishment in his day. 
Much of this correspondence was with the female 
aristocracy, including members of the two great Scot- 
tish ducal families, Argyle and Buccleuch. He was, 
indeed, as he said his parishioners hinted against him 
when he became their clergyman, partial to the com- 
pany of his superiors. But if he liked the aristocracy, 
the aristocracy liked him ; the two met half-way, and 
he was a man who could hold his own with them. 
Thus he occupied the happy though often rather pre- 
carious position, of one who is alike removed, on the 
one hand, from the tuft-hunter, possessing nothing 
but sycophancy to give for the countenance he seeks; 
and on the other hand, from the surly cynic, who 
cannot trust that his independence will hold good 
beyond the circuit of his tub. No doubt, whatever 
society one keeps, one must give a deference to its 
laws and customs — which is a different thing from 
paying undue deference to its individual members. 
There was, in that day, among the enlightened women 
of rank who cultivated men of genius, a propensity 
to get the most out of them, by drawing upon their 
talents, in conversation and correspondences of a 
peculiarly allegorical, or, as he terms it, " Parnassian " 
character, a little like the euphuism of the seventeenth 
century, though not so absolutely hard and unnatural. 
Moderate as it w^as, however, it is difficult to suppose 
a person of Carlyle's acute and sarcastic character 
well adapted to it ; and we can suppose him as little 
at home in it, as his friend David Hume, when he had 


to perform the Sultan between two rival beauties in 
!Madame de Tesse's salon. Such efforts of this kind as 
he unbent himself to, appear, however, to have been 
very acceptable. Here, for instance, follows a letter to 
his amiable friend, Lady Frances Scott. In pursuance 
of some jocular fiction, of which the point is not now 
ver}" obvious, he had been addressing her as the ghost 
of Mrs ^PCormick — an elderly female, whose death 
has been brought about by the neglect and cruelty of 
the lady — characteristics, of course, entirely the re- 
verse of her true qualities. She writes back "from the 
Elysian fields," where " we have never ceased gliding 
about the heavens with the happy spirits our com- 
panions ; for you must know that the chief source of 
happiness here arises from the power which our wings 
give us of never being two minutes in a place." There 
is a certain materiality, however, in the elysium, for 
the angels or goddesses are looking after affluent gods 
with broken constitutions; while impoverished deities 
of the male sex worship where there is neither youth 
nor beauty, but plenty of weajth, to attract. Olympian 
Jove is but a master of the ceremonies, and " Juno is 
neither endowed with celestial loveliness nor awe-in- 
spiring dignity." This is the way of stating that the 
family are at the Bath waters, then in their pride, 
with the successor of Beau Xash playing the part of 
Olympian Jove. Carlyle's answer, instead of aiding 
and developing the allegory, is apt rather to scatter 
its filmy texture by outbreaks of practical sagacity 
and homely wit. 


" At my return from the south, ten days ago, I fou,nd your ladyship's, 
dated from Elysium, which transported me so, that I had to receive 
sundry twinges in the region of the heart, by the daily decline of a child 
and the grief of her mother, who is the greatest martyr to sensibility 
that ever was born, and at last to get a great knock on the pate by the 
sudden death of Dr Gregory, who was our chief stay and support, before 
I could recollect that I was still in the body. Were I to wait till I 
could answer yours from the abodes of the happy in the manner it 
deserves, millions of more ghosts might have time to pass the Stygian 
ferry. But why should I be mortified, that as much as heaven is above 
hell, your ladyship's description should surpass mine ? Though I dare 
say by this time you imagine that I am to behave to you as an old 
humourist, a friend of mine, did long ago to me. We were in use of 
corresponding togethex', and many a diverting letter I had from him. 
At last lie took a panic about his son, who was at school here, and 
wrote me a long letter, complaining of what he was well informed — 
viz., that the schoolboys had got gunpowder, and were in daily use of 
firing pistols and cai-abines, and that they made squibs and crackers, 
to the infinite danger of their own lives ; and then he quoted me an 
hundred fatal accidents that had happened by means of gunpowdei-, 
and prayed my interposition to save the life of his son. As I knew it 
was impossible to prevent the evil of which he complained, as three 
regiments of foot, with a train of artillery, were encamped in the Links, 
I first read one of the most extravagant chapters in all Rabelais, and 
then wrote him a letter assuring him that he had not heard the hun- 
dred part of the truth ; for that the boys were arrived at the most 
dangerous and incorrigible use o'" powder, and then gave him instances 
— such as that they came to church every Sunday with swivel-gun's 
screwed on their left arms, with which they popped down everybody 
whom they disliked, <fcc. The eflfect of this letter was that the old 
gentleman found himself so far outdone, that it entirely broke up our 
correspondence. And when I employed somebody to ask him the reason 
of his silence, he said that the young folks nowadays (this was fifteen 
years ago) went such lengths in fiction, that it was impossible to 
answer them. 

" But your ladyship shall see that I am not in the least mortified by 
your letter, but that, on the contrary, I am highly delighted with it, and 
value it more than I would do a new volume of the Arabian Nights 
Entertainments. Before I left the shades below, I had a peep into 
Elysium myself; and though I did not find things exactly in the same 
state your ladyship did, as I happened not to be in the same region of 
heaven, that can be no objection ; for surely there can be no Elysium 
without variety ; but that may possibly be the subject of another letter. 


In the mean time, I may give your ladyship some intelligence of what 
is going on here. 

" By the by, though I have no great taste now for that part of bliss, 
which your ladyship says consists in everlasting fleeting about by means 
of the wings that make a pai-t of the celestial body, yet I remember the 
time when I should have thought such a power very material to Jiappi- 
ness. Bless me ! how I envied the happy in some island in the Pacific 
Ocean — not Atlantic — whom Peter Wilkins represented as having 
most powerful and trusty pinions. But in those days I used to be 
in love, and thought that wings would make me everywhere present 
with my mistress. 

" I am very glad to hear that Jupiter is henpecked, since he suffers 
the name of angel to be prostituted for gold in his dominions. I sup- 
pose he draws a good round sum by way of tax for liberty to go by 
that name. We have known titles of honour sold upon earth, joa 
know, and why not the privilege of being angels ? When they have 
once given their hands, they'll not long boast of their angelic appella- 

" No ; really we are very much imposed upon. Happiness does not 
consist in the place — it resides in the disposition of the person, and the 
company. The material difference in your abode and mine consisted 
in the long stories that were such a torment to me, and that you were 
free of. 

" But to return to sublunary things. First, as to public diversions : 
I have neither had time nor inclination to mix with the conversable 
world in the capital, near which I reside ; so that I can entertain your 
ladyship with very few pieces of news of any kind. You would hear, 
no doubt, of the mock masquerade they had some time in January. 
That piece of mummery was carried on so ill, that I daresay they 
won't attempt another in haste. The two Turks met with rather hard 
usage, considering the natural as well as assumed gravity of their cha- 
racters. The one was excluded his own house all night by the custom- 
house porter, being mistaken for a vagrant Turk who had been begging 
on the streets all winter ; and the other got a sad curtain-lecture from 
his wife for having embraced a religion, even but in disguise, that 
allows no souls to women, and allows of four wives and innumerable 

" The playhouse has been much frequented since Mrs Yates arrived, 
who receives infinite applause. For though she often appears on the 
stage more than half-seas-over, she's not the less agreeable to all the 
male part of her audience, who come there a little disguised themselves ; 
and in this land of obsequious wives, you know, there is no disputing 
the taste of the men. 

2 M 


" With respect to the fine arts, I have reason to believe that cookery 
is still the favourite ; and as we were a little behind iu that article, it 
is very right that it should continue to be progressive for some time. 
The roen of genius and taste who frequent that temple of pleasure 
that goes by the name of Fortune's, have subscribed very handsomely 
to enable the chief priest there to hire a French cook of the first ac- 
complishments. There are hundreds of people, indeed, on the point of 
starving, but the eminent critics have observed that there is the greatest 
race of genius, and that the fine arts thrive best, in the time of public 
calamities — such as civil war, pestilence, or famine. 

" General Scott, who is here this winter looking out for another wife 
to make him uneasy, gives the most superb, elegant, and refined enter- 
tainments that ever were in this northern region. Poor Mr Stuart 
Moncrief, who had no other department in the Temple of Fame but 
that which is allotted to the makers of gi'eat feasts, after witnessing one 
of the General's most magnificent repasts — for you're certain he could 
not be a partaker — went home and wept for two hours over his van- 
quished reputation, sickened, and went to bed, and died, for anything 
I know, next day. Dead, he certainly is, to glory ! M'Queen the 
lawyer, who felt a very difi'erent passion from envy, after having de- 
voured of twenty-seven several dishes, attacked at last ancient pye 
with so much vivacity, that he had nigh perished in the cause — at least 
he was able to attend no other cause for a fortnight. 

" We are to propose to next General Assembly that a certain deadly 
sin, for which both men and women used to do penance and be severely 
rebuked in the Church, shall be blotted out of our Statute-Book, and 
the sin of Gluttony put in its place. 

" As to the state of learning this winter, I am told there are many 
poorer students than usual. But they say they are better boys, and 
mind the ladies less than they used to do. The English of that is, I 
fancy, that as there are but few men of fortune among them, the aunts 
and the mothers don't mind them. The misses, dear angels, I hope, 
are above valuing any man but for his personal merit. Lord Mon- 
boddo, one of the most learned judges, is just about publishing a book, 
in which he demonstrates that mankind walked originally on all-fours, 
like other animals, and had tails like most of them : that it was most 
likely 5000 years before they learned to walk in an erect posture, and 
5000 more before they could leai-n the use of speech. The females, he 
thinks, might speak two or three centuries sooner." 

Here is a specimen of wliat may be considered the 
same order of composition, although it is varied to 


suit the taste of a male correspondent. It is taken 
from the 

" Scroll of a Letter to Sir Johk Macpherson, Bart. 1797. 

" Although one's correspondence with one's friend should be never 
so much interrupted by business or idleness, there are certain occa- 
sions when they must not be neglected, such as marriages and births, 
and even death itself As the last has lately befallen me, though I am 
happily restored to life, I think it is proper to annoimce to you, my 
very good friend, my return to this world, and to give you some ac- 
count of the slight peep I had into the other. About a month ago I 
was suddenly seized, after a hearty dinner, with a dreadful collie, which 
lasted for fifty hour.s, which threatened immediate dissolution, and 
actually sent me out of the body for a few minutes. During that 
short period (like Mahomet in his dream) I had a view of Elysium, 
hanging, as I thought, on the brink of a cloud, and every moment 
ready to descend. But, as I saw clearly before me, the first group I 
perceived was David Hume, and Adam Smith, and James Macpherson, 
lounging on a little hillock, with Col. James Edmonstone standing be- 
fore them, brandishing a cudgel, and William Robertson at David's 
feet in a listening posture. Edmonstone was rallying David and Smith, 
not without a mixture of anger, for having contributed their share to 
the present state of the world ; the one, by doing everything in his 
power to undermine Christianity, and the other by introducing that 
unrestrained and universal commerce, which propagates opinions as 
well as commodities. The two philosophers, conscious of their follies, 
were shrunk into a nutshell, when James the bard, in the act of rais- 
ing himself to insult them, perceiving my grey hairs hanging over them 
in the cloud, exclaimed, * Damn your nonsensical palaver ; there is 
Carlyle just coming down, and John Home and Ferguson cannot be 
far behind, when I shall have irresistible evidence for the authenticity 
of Ossian. Blair, I daresay, is likewise on the road, and I hope he'll 
bring his dissertation on my works along with him, which is worth a 
thousand of his mawkish sermons, which are only calculated to catch 
milk-sops and silly women.' Upon this Robertson rose to his feet, and 
seemed to be in act to speak one of his decisive sentences in favour of 
the winning side, when Joseph Black, and Chai'ley Congallon, and 
Sandy "Wood, who had hold of the skirts of my coat, fearing I should 
leap down at the sight of so mafiy of my friends, and carry tliem after 
me, made a sudden and strong pull altogether, and jerked me back into 
life again, not without regret at being disai)pointed in meeting with so 
choice a company."' 


The social habits of Carlyle were, doubtless, like 
other men's, much influenced by his domestic position. 
It was his lot to taste of more than the average 
amount of human sorrow, for he lost all his children 
at an early period, and while there were yet above 
thirty years of his own earthly pilgrimage to be per- 
formed. The last, his son William, born in 1773, died 
in 1777. Had it been otherwise, perhaps his memo- 
randa might not have left traces of so continued a suc- 
cession of visits and receptions of guests. While they 
show him to have been much in the world, however, 
they bear no trace of his being addicted in later life to 
the social convivialities where males only can be pre- 
sent ; for his faithful partner, Mary, is his almost con- 
stant companion, whether his visits be to a ducal man- 
sion in London, or to the quiet manse of some old 
companion. How it continued to fare with him and 
with his chosen friends may best be told in one or two 
extracts from the letters in which he communicates 
the passing news to his correspondents. One of his 
early companions — a John Macpherson — had been 
signally fortunate in life. Getting into the service of 
the East India Company, he rose by stages, though 
not without unpropitious casualties, until he became 
Sir John Macpherson, and tlie successor of Warren 
Hastings as Governor of British India. To him Car- 
lyle thus reports, in 1796, about some of their common 
friends : — 

" Now for an account of your old friends, which, if you saw Fer- 
guson as he passed, which T think you did, I might spare. 


" To begin with Eobertson, -srhom you shall see no more. In one 
word, he appeared more respectable when he was dying than ever he 
did even when living. He was calm and collected, and even placid, 
and even gay. My poor wife had a desire to see him, and went on pur- 
pose, but when she saw him, from a window, leaning on his daughter, 
witli his tottering frame, and directing the gardener how to di-ess some 
flower-beds, her sensibility threw her into a paroxysm of grief ; she 
fled up-stairs to Mrs EusseU and could not see him. His house, for 
three weeks before he died, was really an anticipation of heaven. 

" Dr Blair is as well as possible. Preaching every Sunday with in- 
creasing applause, and frisking more with the whole world than ever 
he did in his youngest days, no symptom of frailty about him ; and 
though he was huffed at not having an offer of the Principality, he is 
happy in being resorted to as the head of the univei-sity. 

" John Home is in very good health and spirits, and has had the 
comfort, for two or three winters, of having Major Home, his brother- 
in-law, a very sensible man, in the house with him, which makes him 
less dependent on stranger company, which, in advanced years, is not 
so easy to be found, nor endured when it is found. 

" With respect to myself, I have had many warnings within these 
three years, but, on the whole, as I have only fits of illness, and no 
disease, T am sliding softly on to old age, without any remarkable in- 
firmity or failure, and can, upon occasions, preach like a son of thunder 
(I wish I wei-e the Bold Thunderer for a week or two against the vile 
levelling Jacobins, whom I abhor). My wife, your old friend, has been 
better than usual this winter, and is strong in metaphysics and 
ethics, and (can) almost repeat all Ferguson's last book of Lectures, 
which do him infinite honour. I say of that book, that if Reid is the 
Aristotle, Ferguson is the Plato of Scotch philosophers ; and the 
Faculty of Arts of Edinburgh have adopted my phrase." 

The following, from a letter to Principal Hill, dated 
25th September 1801, gives an account of a visit to 
Lord Melville when he had retired with Pitt on tlie 
formation of the Addington Administration : — 

" We had Jesse Bell and her husband, Mr Gregg, and their son from 
London, for ten days, in the middle of August, which gratified and 
amused us : and about the end of it John Home and I had a fine jaunt 
to Duneira. We set out on the 2.5th of August, and returned on the 
1st of September, and were much pleased with our reception every- 
where, as well as with the country, which was then in the highest 
beauty, and where we had never been before. 


" Our great object, no doubt, was the retired statesman, wliom it 
deliglited us to see so well and so happy, and as easy and degage as he 
was in his boyish days. 

" I was afraid that, like most of ex-ministers, his gaiety might be put 
on to save appearances. However, as his was not a fall, but a voluntary 
and long-projected retreat, and as he is conscious that his great exei'tions 
have not only saved his own country, but put it in the power of Europe 
to save themselves, while the applauses of his counti-y, universal and 
unreserved, at once resound his uncorrupted integrity, as well as his 
unbounded capacity, — I believe him genuine and sincere. 

" I compared his place to an eagle's nest, which pleased him. But 
I did not add, that he was like the thunder-heai-ing bird of Jove, 
w]\om his master had allowed to retire awhile, after his war with the 
giants, to recreate himself from the toils of war, and sport with his 
own brood ; but who, in the midst of carelessness and ease, still throws 
his eyes around him, from his airy height, to descry if the regions of 
tlie air are again disturbed, and to watch the fii'st nod of the Imperial 
King, to take wing and resume his jilace in the Chai-iot of War. 

" "We passed thi-ee days and three nights with him, one at Ochter-. 
tyre and another at Monzie, and fain would I have gone down the 
country, as I had never bee a farther up before than at Lord Kinnoul's. 
But my partner, in spite of all his heroic tragedies, was too much 
afraid of the water to take any other road than Stirling Bridge. The 
country was truly rich and yellow with grain, and the harvest far ad- 
vanced for the 1st of September. 

" Plenty, thank God, has returned, but I am afraid peace is still at 
a distance. 

" Buonaparte is entirely governed by personal considerations, and 
he has still the chance of an invasion in Ireland to establish his throne 
awhile. I can hardly think he will venture tc invade Britain. Yet, 
if Admiral de Winter should fight an obstinate battle off our coast, and, 
in the mean time, a few transports should land with 2000 men any- 
where between this and Newcastle, it might prove very troublesome, 
while their niain effoi-t was made on Ireland. In the interval left lis, 
we are in high preparation here, and our camp, with the force in Edin- 
burgh, are put in condition to act together with effect on the shortest 

" There was a fine show on Tuesday, as you would see in the papers, 
and there is to be a repetition of it on Braid Hills next week. 

" Major Elliot, of the Lanarkshire, said to me that their Tuesday's 
work was worth all they had been taught before, and he is a soldier of 


The reader will have noticed the keen zest with 
which Carlyle always watched the politics of the time, 
w^hether home or foreign. It is infinitely to be re- 
gretted, therefore, that he did not bring down his 
Autobiography through the French Eevolution and 
the Great War. He would have spoken, no doubt, 
entirely on one side, but with that breadth and fixity 
of opinion which partakes more of devotion than of 
mere partiality or prejudice, and is both respectable 
and interesting in the eyes of those who think other- 
wise. His politics, indeed, were a political faith that 
never swerved. While many of his friends were 
frightened into their Conservative opinions by the 
terrors of the French Eevolution, he took and kept 
his position calmly in the very front of his party, like 
a soldier at his post. The resoluteness of the resist- 
ance offered by such men, not only to innovation, but 
to the mere raising of the faintest question of the 
necessity of matters being as they are, is a thing 
which it is difficult for men ot any party to realise 
in the year 1860. 

By the Test Act, the members of the Church oi 
Scotland were in England placed legally in the same 
position as other dissenters from the Church. Loving 
and admiring his own Church as he did, it might have 
been anticipated that he would rather further than 
repress a remonstrance by the General Assembly of 
1791, in which they represented that the members of 
the Church of Scotland were unequally dealt with, 
since they could not hold any office in England with- 


out taking the communion according to the Church 
of England ; while, on the other hand, no similar com- 
pliance was required of Episcopalians holding office in 
Scotland. But he was not to be caught by this bait, 
nor was he to remain silent while it was held out to 
the weak and inexperienced. He came forth not 
merely in favour of the Test, but in strong champion- 
ship of it. It was to be supported upon grounds of 
toleration towards the Established Church of England, 
which well merited such protection. " In this enlight- 
ened and liberal age, when toleration has softened the 
minds of men on religious opinions, it would disgrace 
the General Assembly to do anything that might seem 
to separate the two Established Churches farther from 
each other. Their doctrines are nearly the same; and 
he must be but a very narrow-minded Presbyterian 
who, in the various circumstances in which he might 
be placed, could not join in the religious worship of 
the Church." This doctrine must have been a little 
startling to those brethren who inherited even but a 
small portion of the doctrine prevalent in his youth — 
that the bare toleration of Episcopacy in any shape, 
and in any portion of the empire, was one of the great 
national sins for which Divine vengeance might be 
anticipated. Nor is it easy to realise the feelings 
with which the representatives of the Covenanters 
would receive this climax of a speech delivered in 
1791 :— 

"Nay, Moderator, had I tlie talents of, &c., I think I could show that 
the Test Act, instead of au evil, is a blessing. Tlie Test Act lias con- 


firmed the Union. The Test Act has cured Englishmen of their 
jealousy of Scotsmen, not very ill-founded. The Test Act has quieted 
the feai-s of the Church of England. The Test Act has enlai-ged and 
confirmed the principles of toleration ; so far is it from being a rem- 
nant of bigotry and fanaticism as the memorial would represent. The 
Act, sir, has paved the road to office and preferment. The Test Act, 
sir, for there is no end of its praises, is the key that opens all the trea- 
sures of the south to every honest Scotchman." 

But, in small matters, the keenness of Hs antipathy 
to any innovation or interference with established 
authorities might perhaps be even more distinctly 
exemplified. For instance, in 1795, a Lady Maxwell 
represented to him that certain Highland soldiers at 
Musselburo;h were in reliorious destitution from want 
of a clergyman speaking Gaelic. She calls them "well- 
disposed ofiicers, sergeants, and privates," though it 
is difficult to suppose that there could then be com- 
missioned officers unacquainted with the general lan- 
guage of the empire. She oflfers the services of an 
enthusiastic youthful missionary for the occasion, and 
this suggested interference with the established order 
of things in his Majesty's army and the parish of 
Inveresk calls from its minister the following severe 
rebuke : — 

" Dr Carlyle presents respectful compliments to Lady MaxwelL 
He received her ladyship's card, in answer to which he has to observe, 
that she proceeds on misinformation. The officers who command the 
sevei-al regiments encamped are too conscientious, and understand 
their duty too well, to let their soldiers be without the ordinances of 
religion in a tongue they understand. Two chaplains, men of respect 
and of standing in the Church, have performed public worship in the 
Gaelic language every Lord's day in camp since ever it was estab- 

" With respect to her ladyship's design, of the purity of which Dr 
Carlyle has not the smallest doubt, it belongs to the commandino- 
officers to approve of it or not, and not to him ; but perhaps, on beinor 


better informed, Lady Maxwell may not think it necessary to employ 
her student in theology, however well qualified she may hold him to be, 
to interfere officiously with the duty of the two clergymen of mature 
age and acknowledged ability. The young man, at least, seemed not 
to abound in prudence, when he pressed so earnestly as he did to be 
allowed to visit the condemned prisoners, whom two clergymen had 
been anxiously and diligently preparing for their fate for the whole 
preceding week. 

" Those times of sedition and mutiny seem to require that every per- 
son in office should be left to do his own duty, and that strangers should 
be cautious of intermeddling with the religious tenets or principles o 
any set of people, especially those of the army. 

"jWussb., July 17, 1795. 

" To Lady Maxwell, Dowager of Pollock, 
" at Eosemount, near Edinburgh." 

If there be something a little incongruous to the 
small occasion in the tone of this rebuke, it will per- 
haps be admitted that there is something sublime in 
the following brief testimony to his principles, de- 
livered to the General Assembly in 1804 — two years 
after he had passed his eightieth year, and one before 
his death: — 

" Note of what I said (Assembly 1804), when an address to his Ma- 
jesty was read, in which was an expression, the avjful state, or the awful 
situation of this country : — 

" Moderator, — I was so unlucky as not to be able to attend the 
committee who drew up this address, and consequently have heard it 
now for the first time. In general I am well pleased with the address. 
But there is one phrase in it, which has just now been read, that I 
do not like. I do not like to have it known to our enemies, by a 
public act of this Assembly, that we think our country in an awful 
state, which implies more terror and dismay than I am willing to 
own. When the Almighty wields the elements, which are His instru- 
ments of vengeance on guilty nations— when heaven's thundei*s roll 
and envelop the world in fire — when the furious tempest rages, and 
whelms triumphant navies in the deep — when the burning mountain 
disgorges its fiery entrails and lays populous cities in ashes ; — then, 
indeed, I am overawed : I acknowledge the right arm of the Almighty : 


I am awed into reverence and fear : I am still, and feel that He 
is God : I am dumb, and open not my mouth. But when a puny 
mortal, of no better materials than myself, struts and frets, and 
fumes and menaces, then am I roused, but not overawed ; I put my- 
self in array against the vain boaster, and am ready to say with the 
high-priest of the poet, I fear God, and have no other fear." 

The year 1789 became disagreeably memorable to 
Carlyle, from bis baviDg then been defeated in an ob- 
ject of ambition, which was near his heart, and, as he 
thought, fairly within his reach. This was the ap- 
pointment to the office of Clerk to the General Assem- 
bly, become vacant by the death of Dr Drysdale, in 
whose appointment he had been largely instrumental. 
The salary, £80 a-year, was an object to a clergyman 
of the Church of Scotland, but the position and influ- 
ence towards which the office mio-ht be rendered 
available were of far higher moment. To understand 
this, it is only necessary to keep in view, that the 
constitution of that Church admits of no hierarchy 
or gradation of offices. Every body of men, acting 
in a collective or corporate capacity, must, however, 
have some person presiding over them to regulate 
their proceedings, and represent them in their com- 
munications with the rest of the world. For the 
preservation of the Presbyterian polity from the en- 
croachments of any such officer, however, the " Mo- 
derator," who presides over the proceedings of each 
Church Court, is elected periodically, or for the occa- 
sion. Permanent appointments are given to subordi- 
nate officers only, and each Church Court, from the 
General Assembly downwards, has thus its clerk, who 


is the servant of the collective body. It will naturally 
happen, however, under such arrangements, however 
skilfully devised, that where one kind of man really 
is what he professes to be, a servant, another kind of 
man becomes a master. Hence, it is often, on the 
occasion of such appointments, a question of more 
consequence, Who can be kept out"? than. Who can 
be put inl 

Carlyle not unnaturally concluded that he had done 
services to the Church at large, and to many of its 
ministers, which entitled him to expect this small 
recompense at their hands. 

On the other hand, for reasons which the tenor of 
his Autobiography reveals with sufficient distinctness, 
there w^as a large party among the clergy determined 
to do all that their strength enabled them to do to 
defeat him. The public eminence and extensive social 
influence on which his claims rested were, in their 
eyes, the strongest motives for resistance. He repre- 
sented what to them were hostile interests. These 
interests were as yet outside ; by endowing him with 
an office of place and trust among them, they would 
be bringing the enemy within the gates. The taking 
of the vote was a great field-day, for which the forces 
had been long mustered and disciplined on both sides 
— the friends of Government, with Dundas at their 
head, taking the part of Carlyle; while the cause of 
his competitor, Dr Dalzell, was led by Harry Erskine, 
the great jester. It was, however, a question, not 
merely of ecclesiastical politics, but of soundness in 


opinion and teaching, and on this matter his enemies 
occupied the strong position of professing to be 
sounder in faith and stricter in conduct than his 
Mends. When such an element as this affects a 
contest, it is sure to disturb the original numerical 
strength of the parties, by a sort of intimidation. 
The side professing greater sanctity frightens its 
more timid opponents into a compromise. They are 
afraid of bringing on themselves the suspicion of 
heterodoxy; — they are often conscious of something 
about themselves that would not easily endure a hos- 
tile scrutiny, and so they purchase peace by compliance 
with their natural opponents, or by keeping out of 
the way : so Carlyle found it. 

The vote stood at first 14.5 for Carlyle, and 142 
against him, so that he was elected by a majority of 
three. He took his place as clerk, and delivered an 
address, in which he stated that it had ever been his 
object in ecclesiastical courts to correct and abate the 
fanatical spirit of his country, — an allusion by no 
means likely to mitigate the wrath of his opponents. 
But the matter was by no means decided. It had 
been arranged that there should be a scrutiny of the 
foundation of each voter's right of membership, and 
that the decision of the Assembly should be as the 
relative numbers stood after the bad votes were 
struck out. It was as if a division of the House of 
Commons at the beginning of a session, should stand 
subject to the deduction of the votes of all the mem- 
bers who may be afterwards found by an election 


committee to be unduly elected. It would be useless 
to describe the technicalities of such a process; but 
it is pretty clear that, like the contemporary con- 
troverted elections in the House of Commons, there 
was no rigid law to govern it, and much of it w^as 
decided rather through casual victories than the appli- 
cation of fixed general principles. The contest was 
long and keen, and apparently not quite decorous, 
as we may infer from the following short account of 
it, in a very moderately-toned work — Dr Cook's Life 
of Principal Hill : — 

" In cauvassing the claims on the Commissions to which objections 
were made, there was displayed ingenuity that would have done 
credit to a more important cause ; but with this there was mingled 
a degree of violence, unworthy of the venerable court in which it was 
exhibited. The debates were protracted to a most unusual length, 
and upon one occasion, after all regard to order had been cast aside, 
the Moderator, with unshaken firmness, exercised the power which he 
conceived to be vested in him. He turned to the Commissioner, and 
having received his consent that the Assembly should meet at a cer- 
tain hour next day, he adjourned the house. Amidst the loudness of 
clamour, this step, which none but a man of courage and nerve would 
have taken, was applauded ; and it probably was useful in putting 
some restraint on the angry passions which had before been so inde- 
cently Tirged. Previous to the scrutiny, the Moderator, having been 
asked to declare for whom, in the event of an equality, he would vote, 
he replied that he now voted for Dr Carlyle ; thus unequivocally 
showing Avhom he was eager to support, although he might have 
avoided thus explicitly giving his voice against Mr Dalzel, for whom 
he had a high esteem, and with whom, as Professor of Greek, he had 
maintained such kindly intercourse." 

Carlyle found his opponent gaining so surely, that 
he abandoned the contest. The result irritated him 
at first, and his anger was naturally directed less 
against his avowed enemies than those who, though 


ranked of his own party, had, for the reasons already 
explained, voted against him or stayed away. But 
while the voice of his friends was still for war, to be 
carried on in a new Assembly or in the Court of Ses- 
sion, he wrote to the all-influential Dundas, recom- 
mending peace. "Although the court," he says, 
*• should sustain themselves judges — and I suppose 
they woidd — yet the suit might prove so very tedious 
as to render it totally unworthy of all the trouble, 
were we even certain of being victorious in the end. 
Some people think that next Assembly may, on the 
ground of the protest, take up the business and re- 
verse what has been done by the last ; but, God knows, 
this is not worth while ; for it would oblige me to 
exert every species of power or interest we have to 
bring up an Assembly stronger on our side than the 
last, which it would be very diflicult to do, as our 
opponents would exert themselves to the utmost." 
In a letter to Dr Blair, as the representative of the 
more zealous of the party, Dundas, while explain- 
ing with his usual practical sagacity the impolicy 
of continuing the contest, says — " If Mr C. were 
a young man, and the office £500 a-year instead of 
£80, 1 would undertake the cause, and would certainly 
carry it ; but for such a paltry object it is scarce 
worth while to renew such a disagreeable contest." 

Two years later, Carlyle engaged in a contest, in 
which the clergy as a body were on his side, against 
the landed gentry of Scotland. It was inaugurated, 
indeed, in 1788, by Sir Harry Moncreiff Wellwood, 


the most distinguished member of the opposite party 
in the Church, in a pamphlet called " Sketch of a Plan 
for Augmenting the Livings of the Ministers of the 
Established Church of Scotland." Since the first 
deliberate disposal, after the Eeformation, of the eccle- 
siastical property of Scotland, there existed a certain 
amount of revenue or rent charge, which was stamped 
with the leo-al character of beins: available to the 
Church, while it remained in the hands of the land- 
owners, who were enabled to make their possession 
fully nine-tenths of the law. Much of the ecclesias- 
tical history of Scotland, in fact, clusters round the 
efforts made on one side to keep, and on the other to 
take, this fund. From the beginning, the zealous 
protesting barons Avho had got possession of the pro- 
perty of the old Church, when desired to give it up 
for the purposes of the new, said that such an idea 
was a fond imagination ; and in the same spirit, 
modified to the condition of the times, their successors 
had treated all eff'orts to enlarge the incomes of the 
clergy out of the "unexhausted teinds," as the chief 
substance of the fund was technically termed. 

In the General Assembly, Carlyle adopted the tone 
that the Church was entitled to what it demanded ; 
and that by the help it had given — first, in establish- 
ing the Hanover succession, and next, in supporting 
law and order — it had well earned the frank assistance 
of the Government and the aristocracy in securing 
its rights. The following passage is taken from one 
of his speeches on this matter : — 


" I must confess that I do not love to hear this Church called a poor 
Church, or the poorest Church in Christendom. I douht very much 
that, if it were minutely inquired into, this is really the ftict. But, 
independent of that, I dislike the language of whining and com- 
plaint. We are rich in the best goods a Church can have— the learn- 
ing, the manners, and the character of its members. There are few 
branches of literature in which the ministei-s of this Church have not 
excelled. There are few subjects of fine writing in which they do not 
stand foremost in the rank of authors, which is a prouder boast than 
all the pomp of the Hierarchy. 

" We have men who have successfully enlightened the world in 
almost every bi-anch, not to mention treatises in defence of Christi- 
anity, or eloquent illustrations of every branch of Christian doctrine 
and morals. Who have wrote the best histories, ancient and mo- 
dern ? — It has been clergymen of this Church. Who has wrote the 
clearest delineation of the human undei-standing and all its powers ? 
— A clergyman of this Church. Who has written the best system of 
rhetoric, and exemplified it by his own orations 1 — A clergyman of this 
Church. AVho wrote a tragedy that has been deemed perfect? — A 
clergyman of this Church. Who was the most profound mathema- 
tician of the age he lived in 1— A clergyman of this Church, Who 
is his successor, in reputation as in office ? Who wrote the best 
treatise on agriculture ? Let us not complain of poverty, for it is a 
splendid poverty indeed ! It is paupertas fecunda virorum." 

The Government brought in a bill for " the Aug- 
mentation of Stipends," but they found the country 
gentlemen of Scotland too strong for them, and it was 
abandoned. In the General Assembly Carlyle took 
the opportunity of dropping some sharp remarks on 
the ingratitude thus shown to the Church, and did 
not spare his friend Dundas. A jocular country 
clergyman remarked that nothing better could come of 
sycophancy to the aristocracy ; and told a story how 
a poor neighbour of his own, after a course of ser- 
vility, had got nothing but castigation in the end, 
and found no better remonstrance to make than that 
which had been addressed to Balaam — "Am not I thine 

2 N 


i^ss, upon which thou hast ricldeu ever since I was thine 
to this clay \ " The alhision took, and was improved 
-by Kay the caricaturist. The Government promised 
still to do justice to the clergy, but they had to wait 
for it until the year 1810, when the Act was passed for 
Ibringing all stipends up to a minimum of £150 a-year. 
On the establishment of the Royal Society of Edin- 
burgh in 1783, Carlyle made, through its Transac- 
tions, a very acceptable gift to literature. Johnson, in 
his Life of Collins, referred to the loss of an ode on 
the Superstitions of the Highlands, which Dr Warton 
and his brother had seen, and " thought superior to 
his other works, but which no search has yet found." 
A poem so wild and sweet — so far beyond the bounds 
of the conventionalities of the day, and so full of 
imagery drawn direct from nature in her highest and 
most wayward flights — was not likely to be quite for- 
gotten by any one who had seen it. Carlyle remem- 
bered having read it in 1749 with Home, to whom it 
was addressed, and John Barrow, who had been one of 
•Home's fellow-prisoners in Doune Castle.* After a 
search, Carlyle found the actual manuscript of the ode 
in an imperfect state. He and Henry Mackenzie set 
themselves to filling up the lacunce, and presented it 
in a complete shape to the Royal Society. Soon after- 
wards the ode was published from what was said to be 

* Barrow was "the cordial youth" referred to in the concluding stanza. 
One might suppose that he was the same "Barry" whom Carlyle met in 
London in J769, also one of the fugitives from Doune (page 521). But 
Barrow, according to Carlyle's letter in the "Transactions," died pa5rmaster 
of the forces in the American War of 17>>fi. 


an original and complete copy, which of course devi- 
ated from the other on the points where Carlyle and 
Mackenzie had completed it. This copy was, however, 
printed anonymously, and its accuracy has not passed, 
unsuspected. The editor of Pickeriug's edition of 
Collins (1858) says: "The AVartons, however, had 
read, and remembered the poem, and the anon}Tnous 
editor dedicated the ode to them, with an address. 
As this called forth no protest from the Wartons, it is 
to be presumed that they acknowledged the genuine- 
ness of the more perfect copy ; and it has for that 
reason, though not without some hesitation, been 
adopted for the text of this edition." 

The Eoyal Society version has, however, its own in- 
terest on the present occasion,' as Carlyle's interpola- 
tions afford some little indication, if not of his poeti- 
cal capacity, at least of his taste. Here, for instance, 
is the concluding stanza, with the words supplied by 
Carlyle printed between commas : — 

" AH hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail ; 

Ye ' si)acious ' friths and lakes which, far away. 
Are by smooth Annan filled, or pastoral Tay, 

Or Don's romantic springs, at distance hail ! 
The time shall come when I, i)erhaps, may tread 

Your lowly glens, o'erhung with spreading broom. 
Or o'er your stretching heaths by fancy led : 

Then will I dress once more the faded bower, 
Where Johnson sat in Drummond's ' social ' shade. 

Or crop from TeWot's dale each 'classic flower,' 
And mourn on Yarrow's banks ' the widowed maid.* 
Meantime, ye powers that on the plains which bore 

The cordial youth on Lothian's jilains, attend ; 
Where'er he dwell, on hill or lonely muir, 

To him I love your kind protection lend. 
And, touched with love like mine, preserve my absent friend." 


Here is aDother specimen of the interpolated pas- 
sages : — 

" 'Tis thine to sing how, framing hideous spells, 
In Skye's lone isle the gifted wizard 'sits,' 
'Waiting in' wintry cave 'his wayward fits,' 
Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells." * 

Scott said of Carlyle, that " he was no more a poet 
than his precentor," a rather hard saying, about which 
it is curious to consider that Scott must certainly have 
had his mind under the influence of the passage just 
cited when he drew his own seer Bryan in the Lady 
of the Lake — 

'"Midst gi-oan of wreck and roar of stream 
The wizard waits prophetic dream." 

It is observable that Carlyle's interpolated version 
has considerably more resemblance to this than the 
other has. 

We find Carlyle's contemporary, Smollett, giv- 
ing him credit in his earlier days for poetical efforts 
which cannot be traced home to him. Writing in 
1747, Smollett says : — 

" I would have been more punctual had it not been for Oswald the 
musician, who promised from time to time to set your songs to music, 
that I might have it in my power to gratify the author in you, by 
sending your productions so improved. Your gay catches please me 
much, and the Lamentations of Fanny Gardner has a good deal of 
nature in it, though, in my opinion, it might be bettered. Oswald has 
set it to an excellent tune, in the Scotch style ; but as it is not yet 
published, I cannot regale you with it at present." 

Whether the " gay catches" were of Carlyle's com- 

* In the other version it stands — 

" 'Tis tliine to sing how, framing hideous S]iells, 
In Skye's lone isle the gifted wizard seer, 
Lodged in the wintry cave with fatal spear, 
Or in the depth of Uist's dark forest dwells." 

POETRY. 505 

position or not, there seems to be little doubt that the 
ballad of " Fanny Gairdner " was written by his friend 
Sir Gilbert Elliot. If Carlyle had been the author, it 
is likely that some trace of such a fact would have 
been found in his Autobiography, and so, perhaps, of 
the "gay catches." There is a small heterogeneous 
bundle of manuscript verses among Carlyle's papers — 
some of them in his own handwriting and some in 
others. They are all, so far as the editor is aware, un- 
known to fame, and, on consideration, he thought it 
the better policy not to meddle with them, since at- 
tempts to settle the authorship of manuscript litera- 
ture of this kind are apt to be unsatisfactory, — the 
conclusions adopted on the most subtle critical induc- 
tion, being often upset by some person who has been 
pottering among old magazines and newspapers. 

It would have been extremely interesting if Carlyle 
had brought down his Autobiography, to have had his 
remarks on the new literary dynasty of which he lived 
to see the dawn. The letters written to him show 
that he interested himself in the Lay of the Last 
Minstrel, and in Southey's early poems, but we have 
not his own criticisms on them. The following on 
Wordsworth, however, is surely interesting. It is in 
a letter addressed by Carlyle to "Miss MitchelsonV — 

" I must tell you, who I know will sympathise with me, that I was 
very much delighted indeed, on the first sight of a new species of 
poetry, in 'The Brothers,' and 'The Idiot Boy,' which were pointed 
out to me by Carlyle Bell, as chiefly worthy of admiration. I read 
them with attention and was much struck. As I call every man a 
philosopher, who has sense and observation enough to add one fact 
relating either to mind or body, to the mass of human knowledge, so 


I call every man a poet, whose composition pleases at once the imagina- 
tion and affects the heart. On reading 'The Brother?,' I was sur- 
prised at first with its simplicity, or rather flatness. But when I got 
a little on, I found it not only raised my curiosity, but moved me into 
sympathy, and at last into a tender approbation of the surviving. 
brother, who had discovered such virtuous feelings, and who, by his 
dignified and silent departure, approached the sublime. After being 
so affected, could I deny that this was poetry, however simply ex- 
pressed ? Nay, I go farther, and aver that, if the narration had been 
dressed in a more artificial style, it would hardly have moved me 
at all. 

" When I first read ' The Idiot Boy,' I must confess I was alarmed 
at the term as well as the subject, and suspected that it would not 
please, but disgust. But when I read on, and found that the author 
had so finely selected every circumstance that could set off the mother's 
feelings and character, in the display of the various passions of joy and 
ikuxiety, and suspense and despair, and revived hope and returning joy, 
through all their changes, I lost sight of the term Idiot, and offered 
my thanks to the God of Poets for having inspired one of his sons 
with a new species of poetry, and for having pointed out a subject on 
which the author has done more to move the human heart to tender- 
ness for the most unfortunate of our species, than has ever been done 
before. He has not only made his Tdiot Boy an object of pity, but 
even of love. He has done more, for he has restored him to his place 
among the household gods whom the ancients worshipped." 

It may here be proper to say a few words on a 
matter not likely to have been directly alluded to by 
Carlyle himself — his personal appearance and deport- 
ment. They are of more than usually important ele- 
ments in his biography, since, according to the tenor 
of some traditions and anecdotes, his remarkable per- 
sonal advantages exercised a great influence both on 
himself and others. The portrait after Martin, en- 
graved for . this volume, represents a countenance 
eminently endowed with masculine beauty. His ap-, 
pearance has been hitherto chiefly known to the present 
generation through the Edinburgh Portraits of Kay. 


This limner had tLe peculiar faculty, while preserving 
a recognisable likeness, of entirely divesting it of everj^ 
vestige of grace or picturesqueness which nature may 
have bestowed on it. In this instance he is not,hbwT 
ever, quite successful ; for even from his flat etchings^ 
the " preserver of the Church from fanaticism " cornea 
forth a comely man with a rather commanding 
presence. .: i 

Sir Walter Scott has left a colloquial sketch of hiiil, 
which, though of the briefest, is broad and colossal as 
a scrap from the pencil of Michael Angelo. He is 
discoursing of the countenances of poets ; some tha| 
represented the divinity of genius, and others that sig- 
nally failed in that respect. " Well," said he, " the 
grandest demigod I ever saw was Dr Carlyle, minister 
of Musselburgh, commonly called Jupiter Carlyle, from 
having sat more than once for the king of gods and 
men to Gavin Hamilton ; and a shrewd clever old carle 
was he, no doubt, but no more a poet than his pre* 
centor."* The sitting to Gavin Hamilton is impro- 
bable. Had Carlyle been accustomed to meet this 
great painter, something woidd certainly have beeu 
said about him in the Autobiography. In what is pro- 
bably a variation of the same tradition, it, is said that 
a scidptor accosted him on the streets of London and 
requested him to sit for Olympian Jove. The late Chief 
Commissioner Adam, in a few anecdotes, called The 
Gift of a Grandfather, which he printed at a press of 
his own for private distribution, says, " On sortie par-. 

* Lockhart's Life, iv. 1461. 


ticular occasion, I don't exactly recollect what, he was 
one of a mission upon Church affairs to London, where 
they had to attend at St James's in the costume of 
their profession. His portly figure, his fine expressive 
countenance, with an aquiline nose, his flowing silver 
locks, and the freshness of the colour of his face, made 
a prodigious impression upon the courtiers ; but," adds 
the Commissioner, " it was the soundness of his sense, 
his honourable principles, and his social qualities, un- 
mixed with anything that detracted from, or unbe- 
coming, the character of a clergyman, gave him his 
place among the worthies." 

Besides the picture engraved for this work, Martin 
painted another portrait of him, far more ambitious, 
but not so pleasing. In the Autobiography he men- 
tions his sitting for it, much as Sheridan spoke of his 
having undergone two operations — the one sitting for 
his portrait, the other getting his hair cut (p. 521). Of 
the completion of this work he writes to his wife, on 
the 7th of April 1 770 : " My picture is now finished for 
the exhibition. It looks like a cardinal, it is so gor- 
geously dressed. It is in a pink damask night-gown, 
in a scarlet chair. Martin thinks it will do him more 
good than ajl the pictures he has done." Besides the 
likenesses by Kay and Martin, there was a portrait by 
Skirving, of which an engraving — not of much merit 
— is in the hands of some collectors. In an undated 
letter Lord Haddington says : " I am much obliged to 
you for recollecting your promise of sitting to Eae- 
burn, and beg that it may be a head done on canvass 
of the ordinary size. I mean it to hang as an orna- 


ment in my new library, and that size will answer 
best." Accordingly, there are two entries in the 
Diary : "1796, Mcnj 19. — Began to sit to Raeburn for 
Lord Haddington."' " 9th June. — Sat with Eaeburn 
for last time/' A letter from Lady Douglas (his 
old friend, Lady Frances Scott), written in Feb- 
ruary 1805, a short time before his death, refers to a 
likeness by an artist who was living within the past 
twelve years. " I have received your bust from Hen- 
ning, and think it very strikingly like ; but I do 
not think that he has quite done justice to the pic- 
turesque appearance of your silver locks, which, *in 
wanton ringlets, wave as the vine casts her tendrils.' 
If I have time, I will go and see his drawing while I 
am at Dalkeith." 

His Autobiography was the great occupation, and 
apparently also the great enjoyment, of the concluding 
years of his life. He began it, as the opening an- 
nounces, in the year 1800, when he was entering on 
his seventy-ninth year ; and he appears to have added 
to it from time to time, until within a few weeks of 
his death. The last words written in his own hand- 
writing, which became very tremulous, are about 
" Lord North's having become Premier in the begin- 
ning of the year 1770 " (p. 532). The few remaining 
paragraphs have been written to dictation. 

It will naturally have surprised the reader that, at 
so advanced an age, a man who had not done much 
in early life to give him the facilities of a practised 
composer, should have written with so much vigour, 
eloquence, and point. At the same time, the sort of 


contemporary-like freshness with which he realises 
scenes over which long years, crowded with other re- 
collections, had passed, looks like a phenomenon unex- 
ampled in literature. But there are reasons for these 
characteristics. The editor has convinced himself that 
the favourite scenes and events which Carlyle describes 
had been from the first forming themselves in his mind, 
and even resolving themselves into sentences, which 
would become mellowed in their structure and anti- 
thesis, by the more than obedience to the nonumque 
prematur in annum. The habit acquired by a clergy- 
man of the Church of Scotland, who had to preach ser- 
mons committed to memory, w^ould form the practice 
of retaining finished pieces of composition in the mind. 
This view of the literary growth of the work, though 
Originating in a general impression from its whole tenor, 
can be supported by a few distinct incidents of evi- 
dence. The chief of these is the repetition at consider- 
able intervals of the same scene or anecdote, in almost 
the same words, and with the more characteristic and 
emphatic expressions identical. Farther ; there' is 
a separate manuscript of his Autobiography, down to 
the year 1735, cited in the notes as "Recollections." 
These were written at different times, and partly, it 
would seem, before he began the present work. They 
were prepared for the amusement of his friend Lady 
Frances Douglas ; and, expanding into rhetorical deco- 
rations and jocular allusions — probably intended to 
enhance their interest in the special eyes for which they 
were destined — they are far inferior, except in a few 


passages, to the corresponding portion of the Auto- 
l)iography. It is evident, however, that they are sub- 
stantially the same material inflated for the occasion. 
In fact, the amount of repetition in the Autobio- 
graphy, and the absence of general order throughout, 
show that the author did not retain the full faculty 
of arranging the collection of finished compositions 
stored up in his mind. When there is virtually ver- 
batim repetition, the duplicate of the passage has been 
omitted in the printing. But it was impossible, with- 
out depriving the work of its racy charms, to, obliter- 
ate every second going over of the same ground, or even 
to group together the dispersed passages which bear 
upon the same matter, and which might, had the author 
written at an earlier and more active time of life, have 
been fused by him into each other. For the precision 
with which he notified dates and places he seems to 
have been indebted to a series of accurate diaries. 
There exists at least a succession of diaries, from the 
sojourn in London in the midst of which the Auto- 
biography stops, down to the time when he could no 
longer write. It is likely enough that these had pre- 
decessors ; they may have been lost sight of, from his 
having taken them out of their repository for the pur- 
pose of consulting them in the composition of his 
Autobiography. The diaries which exist are of the 
very briefest kind, intended evidently for no other 
eye but his own, and containing no more words or 
even letters than might be suflicient to recall to me- 
mory the dates and sequence of the events of his life. . 


Among the manuscripts put at the editor's disposal, 
there is evidence that more than once the Autobio- 
graphy had been prepared for the press. Apart from 
changes made by copyists, the author's manuscript 
has been largely tampered with, many passages are 
scored out, and a great deal has been done, no doubt 
with the best intention, to substitute properly-turned 
periods and balanced sentences for such less scientific 
composition as Carlyle was capable of achieving. It 
fortunately happened, however, that except in one 
trifling instance mentioned in a note, the original 
text was recoverable, and its purity restorable. In con- 
sidering his responsibilities in the matter, the editor 
did not think that he was entitled to deprive the world 
of what the author had thought fit to communicate 
to it ; and he came to the conclusion that the public 
would prefer Carlyle's own style under all its weight 
of Scotticisms and obsolete idioms, to the best modern 
improvements that might be made on it. The editor 
consequently made it his task to restore the suppressed 
passages, and obliterate the improvements. 

The existence of this Autobiography has been well 
known, and there have been many expressions of 
surprise by authors, from Sir Walter Scott down- 
wards, why it had not been made public. Perhaps 
it is better that it should have waited. It is easy 
to sympathise with a reluctance to have published 
some portions of it half a century ago. When a man 
leaves behind him his experience and opinions as to 
his contemporaries in an outspoken book — as this cer- 


tainly is — the manuscript is apt to be dismantled of 
one ornament after another, to spare the feelings of 
the surviving kindred. In this way records of indi- 
vidual conduct, whicli it might be cruel to publish 
immediately, are lost to the world ; while, if they were 
preserved until the generation liable to be distressed 
by their publication have departed, they might be given 
forth without offence. What at one time is personal, 
irritating, and even cruel, becomes, after a generation 
or two has departed, only a valuable record of the 
social and moral condition of a past period. Though 
the popular expectation about such records is, that they 
only exist to remind the later generation of pristine 
times and departed virtues, yet the account of personal 
follies and vices which they may contain have their own 
weight and value as part of the history of the period. 

While he was struggling through increasing years 
and infirmities with his too long postponed task, the 
last and greatest of his domestic calamities overtook 
him in the death of his wife, on the 3 1 st day of Janu- 
ary 1804. For once the hard brevity of the diary is 
softened by a touch of nature. " She composed her 
features into the most placid appearance, gave me her 
last kiss, and then gently going out, like a taper in 
the socket, at 7 breathed her last. No finer spirit 
ever took flight from a clay tabernacle to be united 
with the Father of all and the spirits of the just." 

All was done to brighten his few remaining days 
that the affectionate solicitude of relations and dear 
friends could do. His nephew, Mr Carlyle Bell, was 


all to him that a son could be, and held that place in 
his affection. Besides the scanty remnant of his old 
contemporary friends, there rose around him a cluster 
of attached followers among the younger clergy, fore- 
most and best beloved of whom w^as John Lee, the late 
learned and accomplished head of the University of 
-Edinburgh, who has himself just passed from among 
us, well stricken in years. Addressing his good friend 
Lady Frances at this time, he thus alludes to his ne- 
phew and Lee : " I, who have now acquired a kind of 
•pel'sonal greatness, by means of the infirmities of age, 
which make me dependent, have by that very means 
acquired all the trappings of greatness. For, besides 
my nephew, who is my governor, nurse, and treasurer, 
I have got likewise a trusty friend and an able physi- 
■cian, an uncommonly good divine and an eminent 
preacher — all in the person of one young man, whom 
I have taken to live with me." He then touches an 
a matter which still afforded him an interest in the 
world — the completion of the new church for his 
parish. Its slender spire is a conspicuous object for 
many miles around. " By the first Sunday of August 
I intend, God willing, to gratify my people by open- 
ing my new church, if it were only with a short 
prayer (for Othello's occupation's gone), when I 
shall have been 57 years complete minister of this 
parish." But it was not to be. Among the last entries 
in his brief diary in 1805, are, "25th July — John 
Home and Mrs Home ; 27th — George Hill called 
going east." Next day, the entry is "very ill;" for 

DEATH. 57d 

some days afterwards, " no change ; " and the last 
entry, as distinct as any, is "x\ugust 12th and 13th, 
the same." He died on the 25th. So departed one 
who, if men are to be estimated, not by the rank 
which external fortune has given them or the happy 
chances they have seized, but by the influence they 
have imparted from mere personal character and 
ability, is certainly one of the most remarkable on 
record. Born in a simple manse, he remained all his 
days that type of humble respectability — a village 
pastor ; nor does he seem ever to have desired a 
higher sphere. His lot was not even cast on any of 
those wild revolutionary periods which give men in 
his position a place in history ; nor did he attempt 
any of those great ventures for literary distinction in 
which many of his comrades were so successful. It 
seems to have been his one and peculiar ambition 
that he should dignify his calling by bringing it 
forth into the world, and making for it a place along 
with rank, and wealth, and distinction of every kind. 
This object he carried through with a high hand ; 
and scarcely a primate of the proud Church of Eng- 
land could overtop in social position and influence the 
Presbyterian minister of Inveresk. 

He was laid beside his long-departed children and 
the faithful partner of his days, in his own churchyard, 
which he had always loved for the beauty of the pros- 
pect it overlooks. The following inscription, composed 
by his friend Adam Ferguson, was engraved upon his 
tomb : — 





































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